Automatic measurements of diameter, distension and intima media thickness of the aorta in premature rabbit pups using B-mode images

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2014 Feb;40(2):371-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2013.09.017. Epub 2013 Nov 20.


To improve cardiovascular research, there is a growing need for arterial characterization in small animals. We developed a method, ARTIC (arterial characterization) for measuring lumen diameter, distension and intima media thickness (IMT). In this study ARTIC was used to automatically characterize the aorta of premature rabbit pups. Automatic measurements were compared with manual measurements, both performed by three observers. Diameter was 769 ± 140 μm (manual) and 766 ± 142 μm (automatic), distension was 35 ± 15 μm (manual) and 40 ± 12 μm (automatic) and IMT was 84 ± 11 μm (manual) and 88 ± 8 μm (automatic) (mean ± standard deviation). The variation in the measured diameter, distension and IMT ranged from 1.1% to 26.0% (manual) and from 1.0% to 9.0% (automatic). The intra-class correlation coefficient ranged from 33.0% to 99.3% (manual) and from 76.9% to 99.6% (automatic). The evaluation revealed that it is feasible to use ARTIC on B-mode images of arteries with small dimensions, which makes it a useful tool for arterial characterization in small animals.

Keywords: B-mode; Diameter; Distension; High frequency; Intima media thickness; Rabbit aorta.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aorta, Abdominal / physiology*
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Echocardiography / veterinary*
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods
  • Rabbits
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tunica Media / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tunica Media / physiology*
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology*