Abstract T P180: Ultrasound Characteristics of Symptomatic Carotid Plaques: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Background and Purpose: Ultrasound is the most commonly used imaging modality for assessment of carotid artery stenosis. A number of studies have demonstrated that surface irregularities, heterogeneous echotexture and hypoechoic plaques are risk factors for acute ischemic stroke. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature to better define the risk of stroke based off of the sonographic characteristics of carotid plaques.
Materials and Methods: We performed a comprehensive literature search evaluating the association of carotid plaque characteristics on ultrasound with ischemic outcomes. We included both case-control and cohort studies examining the relationship between complex plaque and acute ischemic stroke. Complex plaque was defined as plaque that had any of the following characteristics: heterogeneous plaque echogenicity, hypoechoic plaque, plaque neovascularization, plaque surface irregularity, plaque ulceration, and intraplaque motion. Meta-analyses using the random-effects model were performed for complex plaque and each of the individual complex plaque characteristics.
Results: A total of 1013 articles were screened and 30 studies with 11528 patients (3054 symptomatic and 8474 asymptomatic) were included. The odds ratios for the association between complex plaque and ischemic symptoms was 5.18 (95%CI=4.63-5.79). Heterogeneous echotexture (OR=11.72, 95%CI=9.82-13.98), intraplaque motion (OR=1.57, 95%CI=1.02-2.41), plaque echolucency (OR=3.23, 95%CI=2.72-3.84), plaque neovascularity (OR=5.66, 95%CI=3.15-10.16) and plaque ulceration (OR=2.65, 95%CI=1.89-3.73) were all associated with ischemic symptoms. Surface irregularity without frank ulceration was not associated with ischemic symptoms (OR=1.35, 95%CI=0.98-1.86).
Conclusions: Complex plaque, heterogeneous plaque echogenicity, hypoechoic plaque, plaque neovascularization, plaque ulceration and intraplaque motion are associated with ischemic symptoms. Assessment of carotid plaque on ultrasound provides stroke risk information beyond measurement of luminal stenosis.
Author Disclosures: W. Brinjikji: Research Grant; Modest; Brain Aneurysm Foundation. D.M. Nasr: None. A.A. Rabinstein: None. G. Lanzino: None. E.E. Williamson: None. J. Huston: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.