BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: An important characteristic of vulnerable plaque, intraplaque hemorrhage, may predict plaque rupture. Plaque rupture can be visible on noninvasive imaging as a disruption of the plaque surface. We investigated the association between intraplaque hemorrhage and disruption of the plaque surface. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We selected the first 100 patients of the Plaque At RISK study, an ongoing prospective noninvasive plaque imaging study in patients with mild-to-moderate atherosclerotic lesions in the carotid artery. In carotid artery plaques, disruption of the plaque surface (defined as ulcerated plaques and/or fissured fibrous cap) and intraplaque hemorrhage were assessed by using MDCTA and 3T MR imaging, respectively. We used a X2 test and multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between intraplaque hemorrhage and disrupted plaque surface. RESULTS: One hundred forty-nine carotid arteries in 78 patients could be used for the current analyses. Intraplaque hemorrhage and plaque ulcerations were more prevalent in symptomatic compared with contralateral vessels (hemorrhage, 38% versus 11%; P < .001; and ulcerations, 27% versus 7%; P = .001). Fissured fibrous cap was more prevalent in symptomatic compared with contralateral vessels (13% versus 4%; P = .06). After adjustment for age, sex, diabetes mellitus, and degree of stenosis, intraplaque hemorrhage was associated with disrupted plaque surface (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.25-7.84) in all vessels. CONCLUSIONS: Intraplaque hemorrhage is associated with disruption of the plaque surface in patients with a carotid artery stenosis of <70%. Serial studies are needed to investigate whether intraplaque hemorrhage indeed increases the risk of plaque rupture and subsequent ischemic stroke during follow-up.
Van Dijk, A. C., Truijman, M. T. B., Hussain, B., Zadi, T., Saiedie, G., De Rotte, A. A. J., … Van Der Lugt, A. (2015). Intraplaque hemorrhage and the plaque surface in carotid atherosclerosis: The plaque at RISK study (PARISK). American Journal of Neuroradiology, 36(11), 2127–2133. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A4414