Ultrasonic plaque character and outcome after lower limb angioplasty

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Purpose: The value of ultrasonic plaque characteristics in identifying patients at 'high-risk' of restenosis after percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) was studied. Methods: Thirty-one arterial stenoses (6 common iliac, 2 external iliac, 1 profunda femoris, 21 superficial femoral, and 1 popliteal) in 17 patients who underwent angioplasty were studied by means of duplex scanning. With a computer-based program, B-mode images were digitized and normalized using 2 reference points, blood and adventitia. A grey level of 0 to 5 was allocated for the lumen (blood) and 180 to 190 for the adventitia on a linear gray scale of 0 to 255 (0 = absolutely black; 255 = absolutely white), and the overall plaque gray-scale median (GSM) of the pixels of the plaque was used as a measure of plaque echodensity. After PTA, follow-up of stenoses was done on day 1, weekly for 8 weeks, at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. The total plaque thickness (sum of anterior and posterior components), minimal luminal diameter (MLD), and peak systolic velocity ratio (PSVR) were measured for all stenoses. An increase of more than 2 in the PSVR was the duplex criterion used to signify restenosis. Results: The GSM of the stenoses before angioplasty ranged from 6 to 71 (mean, 31.3 ± 17.9); 17 stenoses had a GSM less than 25 (mean, 18.7 ± 5.3), and 14 had a GSM more than 25 (mean, 46.4 ± 15.8). When the GSM was less than 25, the absolute reduction in plaque thickness on day 1 post-PTA was 3.3 ± 1.8 mm, in contrast to 1.8 ± 1.6 mm when GSM was more than 25 (P < .03). The restenosis rate (PSVR more than 2) was 41% at 6 months and remained unchanged at 1 year. When the GSM was less than 25, restenosis occurred in 11% of lesions, in comparison with 78% when the GSM was more than 25 (P < .001). Conclusion: Plaque echodensity can be used to evaluate stenoses before PTA, to predict initial success and identify a subgroup that has a high prevalence of restenosis. The identification of a group at 'high-risk' of restenosis can improve the selection of patients for the procedure and also be used in prospective studies on the prevention of restenosis.




Ramaswami, G., Tegos, T., Nicolaides, A. N., Dhanjil, S., Griffin, M., Al-Kutoubi, A., … Zarins, C. K. (1999). Ultrasonic plaque character and outcome after lower limb angioplasty. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 29(1), 110–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0741-5214(99)70353-8

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