Objective: To investigate the correlation among carotid plaque contrast enhancement (CPCE) at MRI, inflammatory cell infiltration (ICI) at histopathology, and carotid stenosis degree. Materials and methods: Twenty-eight patients (19 males; mean age 67 ± 9 years) scheduled for thromboendarterectomy prospectively underwent 1.5-T MR imaging using: (a) axial T1-weighted gradient-echo (T1wGRE) sequence centered on carotid bifurcations; (b) contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA) with 0.1 mmol/kg of gadobenate dimeglumine; (c) enhanced axial T1wGRE sequence as in (a), 3 min after contrast injection. A three-point score system (absent, focal, wide) was used to assess CPCE on native and subtracted MRI images (c minus a) and ICI at histopathology. Carotid stenosis degree was determined on CE-MRA. Results: Six CPCE studies were discarded due to patient movement. In the remaining 22 studies, CPCE was absent, focal and wide in 13, 6 and 3 cases, respectively; ICI was absent, focal and wide in 13, 7 and 2 cases, respectively (k = 0.57). On CE-MRA 21/28 stenoses were severe and 7/28 moderate. There was no correlation either with ICI (p = 1.000, n = 28) or CPCE (p = 0.747, n = 22). Conclusion: The correlation between CPCE and ICI suggests a role for CPCE as an independent marker of plaque inflammation.
- Carotid stenosis
- Contrast material
- Magnetic resonance angiography
- Magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging