Evaluation of Carotid Plaque Neovascularization Using Contrast Ultrasound

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Abstract

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is increasingly used to improve visualization of carotid arteries. However, its reproducibility and utility for clinical research are not well established. The aim of the present study was to assess reproducibility of detection of carotid artery wall neovascularization using CEUS. Complete sequenced CEUS images from 10 individuals were analyzed for the presence of carotid arterial wall neovascularization. The images were acquired using Philips CompactXtreme CX50 ultrasound unit with an LI2 - 3 probe and Bracco SonoVue contrast agent. The carotid wall neovascularization was graded by 2 independent observers with inter-/intraobserver agreement (κ) calculated. Interobserver K values for intraplaque neovascularization (mean [95% confidence interval]) were 0. 67 (0. 40 - 0. 94) for the left side. Interobserver κ values for intraplaque neovascularization were 0.65 (0.38-0.92). No study-related complications were observed. The CEUS method although semiquantitative shows moderate-to-strong intra- and interagreement for the results and can be used for clinical research purpose.

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