3-D Strain Imaging of the Carotid Bifurcation: Methods and in-Human Feasibility

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2019 Jul;45(7):1675-1690. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2019.02.023. Epub 2019 Apr 18.


Atherosclerotic plaque development in the carotid artery bifurcation elevates the risk for stroke, which is often initiated by plaque rupture. The risk-to-rupture of a plaque is related to its composition. Two-dimensional non-invasive carotid elastography studies have found a correlation between wall strain and plaque composition. This study introduces a technique to perform non-invasive volumetric elastography in vivo. Three-dimensional ultrasound data of carotid artery bifurcations were acquired in four asymptomatic individuals using an electrocardiogram-triggered multislice acquisition device that scanned over a length of 35 mm (350 slices) using a linear transducer (L11-3, fc = 9 MHz). For each slice, three-angle ultrasound plane wave data were acquired and beamformed. A correction for breathing-induced motion was applied to spatially align the slices, enabling 3-D cross-correlation-based compound displacement, distensibility and strain estimation. Distensibility values matched with previously published values, while the corresponding volumetric principal strain maps revealed locally elevated compressive and tensile strains. This study presents for the first time 3-D elastography of carotid arteries in vivo.

Keywords: 3-D principal strain; Carotid bifurcation; Displacement compounding; Multislice 3-D; Ultrafast plane wave ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotid Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Carotid Arteries / drug effects
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results