Computed tomographic evaluation of cervical carotid plaque complications.
Twenty five patients with manifestations of cerebrovascular ischemic disease were evaluated with high resolution computed tomography of the neck, following intravenous infusion of a contrast agent. Computed tomography images of extracranial carotid arteries revealed atherosclerotic plaque formations and their complications: stenosis, occlusion, ulceration, calcification and mural lucent defects. Histologic analysis of 15 endarterectomy specimens obtained from symptomatic patients who had computed tomography images of discrete lucent defects in carotid plaques demonstrated subintimal hemorrhage of varying age in 13, focal necrosis in 1 and excessive subintimal thickening in 1. It is concluded that lucent images observed in computed tomography of extracranial carotid arteries represent vascular wall lesions within carotid plaques suggestive of subintimal hemorrhage, focal necrosis and/or excessive subintimal thickening. Computed tomography of the extracranial carotid arteries is a relatively non-invasive method that permits the diagnosis of plaque hemorrhages in symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid arteries.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association