Assessment of atherosclerotic plaques in a rabbit model by delayed-phase contrast-enhanced CT angiography: Comparison with histopathology

Jin Hur, Young Jin Kim, Hyo Sup Shim, Hye Jeong Lee, Ji Eun Nam, Kyu Ok Choe, Byoung Wook Choi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to compare delayed-phase computed tomography angiography (CTA) attenuation values with histopathology, in ability to differentiate between fibrous and lipid-rich plaques in an experimental rabbit model. Twelve atherosclerotic rabbits underwent CTA of the abdominal aorta. The scan protocol included early-phase scans (EP), delayed scans at 90 s after contrast injection (DP 90s), delayed scans at 10 min after contrast injection (DP 10min), and delayed scan with saline infusion (DP Saline). Plaque composition was analyzed by histopathology (% of lipid-rich, fibrous and macrophage areas) and CT attenuation values in Hounsfield units. Using histopathology as the reference standard (n = 119), the overall sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of 64-slice CTA for the detection of plaques was 59, 100 and 79% for the EP scans; 88, 100 and 94% for the DP 90s scans; 81, 100 and 90% for the DP 10min scans; and 53, 100 and 76% for the DP Saline scans. CT density measurements showed a substantial overlap between fibrous and lipid-rich plaques, and poor correlations with the percentage of macrophage areas in both fibrous and lipid-rich plaques (r = 0.408, and r = 0.333). In delayed-phase 64-slice CTA, DP 90s images have the best diagnostic performance for the detection of aortic plaques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-363
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We are grateful for the technical assistance of Young Min Cho and Nam Hee Park. This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine for 2009 (6-2009-0082).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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