Coronary artery imaging with intravascular high-frequency ultrasound.
Safe and effective clinical application of new interventional therapies may require more precise imaging of atherosclerotic coronary arteries. To determine the reliability of catheter-based intravascular ultrasound as an imaging modality, a miniaturized prototype ultrasound system (1-mm transducer; center frequency, 25 MHz) was used to acquire two-dimensional, cross-sectional images in 21 human coronary arteries from 13 patients studied at necropsy who had moderate-to-severe atherosclerosis. Fifty-four atherosclerotic sites imagined by ultrasound were compared with formalin-fixed and fresh histological sections of the coronary arteries with a digital video planimetry system. Ultrasound and histological measurements correlated significantly (all p less than 0.0001) for coronary artery cross-sectional area (r = 0.94), residual lumen cross-sectional area (r = 0.85), percent cross-sectional area (r = 0.84), and linear wall thickness (plaque and media) measured at 0 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees, and 270 degrees (r = 0.92). Moreover, ultrasound accurately predicted histological plaque composition in 96% of cases. Anatomic features of the coronary arteries that were easily discernible were the lumen-plaque and media-adventitia interfaces, very bright echoes casting acoustic shadows in calcified plaques, bright and homogeneous echoes in fibrous plaques, and relatively echo-lucent images in lipid-filled lesions. These data indicate that intravascular ultrasound provides accurate image characterization of the artery lumen and wall geometry as well as the presence, distribution, and histological type of atherosclerotic plaque. Thus, ultrasound imaging appears to have great potential application for enhanced diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis and may serve to guide new catheter-based techniques in the treatment of coronary artery disease.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association