A rupture-prone carotid plaque can potentially be identified by calculating the peak cap stress (PCS). For these calculations, plaque geometry from MRI is often used. Unfortunately, MRI is hampered by a low resolution, leading to an overestimation of cap thickness and an underestimation of PCS. We developed a model to reconstruct the cap based on plaque geometry to better predict cap thickness and PCS. We used histological stained plaques from 34 patients. These plaques were segmented and served as the ground truth. Sections of these plaques contained 93 necrotic cores with a cap thickness <0.62 mm which were used to generate a geometry-based model. The histological data was used to simulate in vivo MRI images, which were manually delineated by three experienced MRI readers. Caps below the MRI resolution (n = 31) were (digitally removed and) reconstructed according to the geometry-based model. Cap thickness and PCS were determined for the ground truth, readers, and reconstructed geometries. Cap thickness was 0.07 mm for the ground truth, 0.23 mm for the readers, and 0.12 mm for the reconstructed geometries. The model predicts cap thickness significantly better than the readers. PCS was 464 kPa for the ground truth, 262 kPa for the readers and 384 kPa for the reconstructed geometries. The model did not predict the PCS significantly better than the readers. The geometry-based model provided a significant improvement for cap thickness estimation and can potentially help in rupture-risk prediction, solely based on cap thickness. Estimation of PCS estimation did not improve, probably due to the complex shape of the plaques.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Atherosclerosis, Cap thickness, Carotid artery, Finite element analysis, Magnetic resonance imaging, Peak cap stress
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.06.034, hdl.handle.net/1765/101035
Journal Journal of Biomechanics
Kok, A.M, van der Lugt, A, Verhagen, H.J.M, van der Steen, A.F.W, Wentzel, J.J, & Gijsen, F.J.H. (2017). Model-based cap thickness and peak cap stress prediction for carotid MRI. Journal of Biomechanics, 60, 175–180. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.06.034