The carotid artery (CA) is central to cardiovascular research, because of the clinical relevance of CA plaques as culprits of stroke and the accessibility of the CA for cardiovascular screening. The viscoelastic state of this artery, essential for clinical evaluation, can be assessed by observing arterial deformation in response to the pressure changes throughout the cardiac cycle. Ultrasound imaging has proven to be an excellent tool to monitor these dynamic deformation processes. We describe how a new technique called high-frame-rate ultrasound imaging captures the tissue deformation dynamics throughout the cardiac cycle in unprecedented detail. Local tissue motion exhibits distinct features of sub-micrometer displacements on a sub-millisecond time scale. We present a high-definition motion analysis technique based on plane wave ultrasound imaging able to capture these features. We validated this method by screening a group of healthy volunteers and compared the results with those for two patients known to have atherosclerosis to illustrate the potential utility of this technique.

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Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Cardiology

Kruizinga, P., Mastik, F., van den Oord, S., Schinkel, A., Bosch, H., de Jong, N., … van der Steen, T. (2014). High-Definition Imaging of Carotid Artery Wall Dynamics. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2014.03.009