Components of carotid atherosclerotic plaque in spectral photon-counting CT with histopathologic comparison

Shishir Dahal, Aamir Y. Raja, Emily Searle, Frances E. Colgan, Jonathan S. Crighton, Justin Roake, Luca Saba, Steven Gieseg, Anthony P.H. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: This study aimed to demonstrate the effectiveness of spectral photon-counting CT (SPCCT) in quantifying fibrous cap (FC) thickness, FC area, and lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC) area, in excised carotid atherosclerotic plaques by comparing it with histopathological measurements. Methods: This is a single-center ex vivo cross-sectional observational study. Excised plaques of 20 patients (71 +/- 6 years; 13 men), obtained from carotid endarterectomy were scanned with SPCCT using standardized acquisition settings (120k Vp/19 μA; 7–18 keV, 18–30 keV, 30–45 keV, 45–75 keV, and 75–118 keV). FC thickness, FC area, and LRNC area were quantified and compared between high-resolution 3D multi-energy CT images and histopathology using the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test and Bland–Altman analysis. Images were interpreted twice by two radiologists separately, blinded to the histopathology; inter- and intra-rater reliability were assessed with the intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC). Results: FC thickness and FC area did not show significant differences between the SPCCT-derived radiological measurements versus the histopathological measurements (p value range 0.15–0.51 for FC thickness and 0.053–0.30 for FC area). For the LRNC area, the p value was statistically non-significant for reader 1 (range 0.36–0.81). The Bland-Altman analysis showed mean difference and 95% confidence interval for FC thickness, FC area, and LRNC area, 0.04 (−0.36 to 0.12) square root mm, −0.18 (−0.34 to −0.02) log10 mm2 and 0.10 (−0.088. to 0.009) log10 mm2 respectively. Conclusion: The result demonstrated a viable technique for quantifying FC thickness, FC area, and LRNC area due to the combined effect of high spatial and energy resolution of SPCCT. Key Points: • SPCCT can identify and quantify different components of carotid atherosclerotic plaque in ex vivo study. • Components of atherosclerotic plaque did not show significant differences between the SPCCT-derived radiological measurements versus the histopathological measurements.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1612-1619
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Endarterectomy, carotid
  • Human
  • Plaque, atherosclerotic
  • Reproducibility of studies
  • Tomography, X-ray computed

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