Evaluation of pulmonary artery histopathologic findings in congenital heart disease: an in vitro study using intravascular ultrasound imaging

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1995 Jul;26(1):272-6. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(95)00154-r.


Objectives: This study aimed to 1) compare in vitro intravascular ultrasound images of human pulmonary arteries with corresponding histologic sections, and 2) correlate the relation between intravascular ultrasound findings and Heath-Edwards pathologic grade of pulmonary vascular changes.

Background: The pathologic assessment of the pulmonary vascular bed is essential for diagnosis and management of congenital heart disease with pulmonary hypertension.

Methods: We evaluated and compared intravascular ultrasound images with histologic findings at identical sites in 40 pulmonary artery segments from 17 autopsy studies: group 1 = 7 patients with pulmonary hypertension (Heath-Edwards grade I to V, 20 segments); group 2 = 10 patients without cardiopulmonary disease (20 segments).

Results: In group 2, the pulmonary artery wall echo consisted of a single layer. In group 1, 1) all segments of pulmonary arteries from patients with pulmonary hypertension showed a three-layered appearance; 2) in patients with mild pulmonary hypertension (Heath-Edwards grades I and II), intravascular ultrasound demonstrated increased thickness of the echoluscent zone due to medial hypertrophy with no intimal reaction; 3) patients with severe pulmonary hypertension (Health-Edwards grade III or higher) had intravascular ultrasound findings of increased medial thickness and a bright inner layer from intimal hyperplasia; 4) percent wall thickness derived from intravascular ultrasound showed a significant correlation with that determined by histologic examination (r = 0.89, p = 0.0001, n = 20).

Conclusions: Changes observed with intravascular ultrasound imaging correlate well with histopathologic grade. Thus, intravascular ultrasound may have significant utility in the evaluation of pulmonary vascular morphology in patients with pulmonary hypertension.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cadaver
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*