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Title: Novel ultrasound features for the identification of the vulnerable carotid plaque
Author: Makris, Grigoris
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 2141
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: The identification of the vulnerable carotid plaque is of paramount importance in order to prevent the significant stroke-related mortality and morbidity. Currently the clinical decision-making around this condition is based on the traditional ultrasound evaluation of the degree of stenosis. However, there is emerging evidence supporting that this is not sufficient for all patients. Aim of this thesis: The evaluation of novel carotid plaque features for the characterisation of plaque composition, volume and motion using 2 and 3 dimensional ultrasound technology. The ultimate goal is to identify novel sensitive imaging markers for carotid plaque characterisation and stroke-risk stratification. Methods: The Asymptomatic Carotid Stenosis and Risk of Stroke (ACSRS) Study was a large prospective multicentre trial that was recently completed. A post-hoc analysis of the sonographic and clinical data from this study was performed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of novel ultrasound texture features, such as second order statics, on stroke-risk prediction. In addition, the change of specific texture features and degree of stenosis during the ACSRS follow-up time (8 years) and their importance for stroke prediction was evaluated. In order to assess the potential of 3D ultrasound carotid imaging we also developed a special methodology using a 3D broadband, linear array probe and the Q-lab software. This methodology was then applied in a clinical, cross-sectional study of patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid disease. Finally we developed a carotid plaque motion analysis methodology that we tested on a feasibility study. Results: The post-hoc analysis of more than 1,000 patients from the ACSRS database showed that there are novel ultrasound features of plaque homogeneity that can contribute to plaque characterisation and improve stroke-risk prediction. Similarly our results suggest that the change of degree of stenosis or plaque's composition through time might have significant predictive value when combined with the above novel features. The study in 3D ultrasound prospectively assessed more than 80 people with symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid disease with both 2 and 3D carotid ultrasound without, though, revealing any significant benefit from the use of 3D imaging in terms of stroke-risk prediction. Finally, our feasibility study on plaque motion analysis showed that it is possible to objectively characterise plaque motion, using ultrasound and dedicated software without complicated reconstructions. Conclusion: The use of novel 2D ultrasound texture features in combination with traditional ones can improve the stroke-risk stratification. 3D ultrasound is a promising new approach, however, the current technology does not appear to offer a significant benefit in comparison to cheaper traditional 2D ultrasound for carotid plaque evaluation. Further research is warranted on this issue.
Supervisor: Geroulakos, George; Nicolaides, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available