The objective of the study is to validate intravascular quantitative echogenicity as a surrogate for molecular weight assessment of poly-l-lactide-acid (PLLA) bioresorbable scaffold (Absorb BVS, Abbott Vascular, Santa Clara, California). We analyzed at 9 time points (from 1- to 42-month follow-up) a population of 40 pigs that received 97 Absorb scaffolds. The treated regions were analyzed by echogenicity using adventitia as reference, and were categorized as more (hyperechogenic or upperechogenic) or less bright (hypoechogenic) than the reference. The volumes of echogenicity categories were correlated with the measurements of molecular weight (Mw) by gel permeation chromatography. Scaffold struts appeared as high echogenic structures. The quantification of grey level intensity in the scaffold-vessel compartment had strong correlation with the scaffold Mw: hyperechogenicity (correlation coefficient = 0.75; P < 0.01), upperechogenicity (correlation coefficient = 0.63; P < 0.01) and hyper + upperechogenicity (correlation coefficient = 0.78; P < 0.01). In the linear regression, the R2 for high echogenicity and Mw was 0.57 for the combination of hyper and upper echogenicity. IVUS high intensity grey level quantification is correlated to Absorb BVS residual molecular weight and can be used as a surrogate for the monitoring of the degradation of semi-crystalline polymers scaffolds.

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International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Campos, C.A.M, Ishibashi, Y, Eggermont, J, Nakatani, T, Cho, Y.-K, Dijkstra, J, … Serruys, P.W.J.C. (2015). Echogenicity as a surrogate for bioresorbable everolimus-eluting scaffold degradation: analysis at 1-, 3-, 6-, 12- 18, 24-, 30-, 36- and 42-month follow-up in a porcine model. International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging, 31(3), 471–482. doi:10.1007/s10554-015-0591-4