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Contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging of neovascularization in vulnerable carotid plaques

English title Contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging of neovascularization in vulnerable carotid plaques
Applicant Staub Daniel
Number 120997
Funding scheme Fellowships for prospective researchers
Research institution Section of Cardiology Department of Medicine Rush University Medical Center
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Internal Medicine
Start/End 01.01.2008 - 31.12.2008
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All Disciplines (2)

Internal Medicine
Cardiovascular Research

Keywords (5)

neovascularization; atherosclerosis; carotid; contrastultrasound; cardiovascular event

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Background: Noninvasive carotid ultrasound examination, including carotid intima-media thickness (c-IMT) measurement has been shown to be a valid early diagnostic marker of the atherosclerotic burden and a predictive marker of future cardiovascular events. Newer ultrasound technologies using contrast enhancing agents allow for direct visualization and quantification of the carotid artery neovascularization of the vasa vasorum adventitial vessels, along with the angiogenesis contained within the atherosclerotic carotid plaque. There are good indications that presence and degree of neovascularization within the atherosclerotic plaque correlate with the histo-pathologic findings of intraplaque neovascularization and inflammation.Neovascularization of atherosclerotic plaques correlates with increased plaque instability and subsequent risk of vascular complications. Thus, we hypothesize that higher degrees of carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque neovascularization, measured with contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS), are found in vulnerable patients suffering from cardiovascular events, as compared to patients with comparable cardiovascular risk profile. Hypothesis: Carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque neovascularization assessed with CEUS identifies patients at high risk for cardiovascular events. Aims: To compare presence and degree of carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque neovascularization and c-IMT assessed with CEUS in symptomatic patients suffering a first acute cardiovascular event with asymptomatic patients with cardiovascular risk factors. Methods: The quantification of intra-plaque neovascularization and c-IMT will be assessed by CEUS imaging in fifty symptomatic patients with a first cardiovascular event (acute coronary syndrome or cerebrovascular event) and in fifty asymptomatic patients with only cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking) without history of cardiovascular disease. The grading of neovascularization and c-IMT between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients will be compared. Significance: If the degree of neovascularization within the atherosclerotic plaque is strongly associated with vulnerable patients with a first cardiovascular event and even better correlated than the conventional assessment of preclinical atherosclerotic disease (c-IMT), this approach may improve the non-invasive clinical test for the early diagnosis of atherosclerosis.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
142419 Clinical Use of Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) for the Assessment of Vessel Wall Vascularization (Vasa Vasorum) and Inflammation in Carotid Atherosclerosis and Venous Thrombosis 01.10.2012 Ambizione