Multidetector-row computed tomography in evaluation of atherosclerotic carotid plaques complicated with intraplaque hemorrhage

Ann Vasc Surg. 2009 Mar;23(2):186-93. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2008.05.008. Epub 2008 Jul 26.


Our aim was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of multidetector-row computed tomography (CT) in detecting atherosclerotic carotid plaques complicated with intraplaque hemorrhage. We examined carotid plaques from 31 patients operated for carotid artery stenosis. Results of preoperative multidetector-row CT analysis of carotid plaques were compared with results of histological analysis of the same plaque areas. Carotid endarterectomy was performed within 1 week of multidetector-row CT. American Heart Association classification of atherosclerotic plaques was applied for histological classification. Median tissue density of carotid plaques complicated with intraplaque hemorrhage was 22 Hounsfield units (HU). Median tissue density of noncalcified segments of uncomplicated plaques was 59 HU (p=0.0062). The highest tissue density observed for complicated plaques was 31 HU. Multidetector-row CT detected plaques complicated with hemorrhage with sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 64.7%, with tissue density of 31 HU as a threshold value. Multidetector-row CT showed a high level of sensitivity and a moderate level of specificity in detecting atherosclerotic carotid plaques complicated with hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Stenosis / pathology
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*