Carotid artery distensibility: A reliability study

Elisa Cuadrado Godia, Rishi Madhok, John Pittman, Samuel Trocio, Romel Ramas, Digna Cabral, Ralph L. Sacco, Tatjana Rundek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objective. Carotid distensibility (CD) is a measure of carotid artery elasticity that has been introduced as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Information regarding reproducibility of sonographic CD measures is limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the inter-reader reliability of sonographic measurements of common carotid artery (CCA) diameters and derived metrics of CD. Methods. Two independent readers (R1 and R2) measured the systolic diameter (SD) and diastolic diameter (DD) for the right CCA from the B/M-mode sonographic registrations among 118 subjects. The derived CD metrics (strain, elastic modulus [E], stiffness [β], and CD) were calculated. The inter-reader type 3 intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC3,1) for carotid diameters were calculated. Results. The mean SDs ± standard deviation were 7.15 ± 1.43 mm for R1 and 7.24 ± 1.43 mm for R2. The mean DDs were 6.71 ± 1.36 mm for R1 and 6.68 ± 1.41 mm for R2. The mean differences of SD and DD between R1 and R2 were 0.08 ± 0.40 mm (paired t test, P = .04) and 0.03 ± 0.43 mm (paired t test, P = .46), respectively. Inter-reader type 3 intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.96 for SD and 0.95 for DD. We observed a significant association of demographics with carotid diameters but not with derived CD metrics or risk factors. Conclusions. Our results suggest good reproducibility of CCA diameters measured with B/M-mode sonography. However, very small changes in linear measurements of carotid diameters can have big effects on estimates of arterial mechanical properties such as strain and Young's modulus. The standard boundary identification methods may not be precise and reproducible enough for use in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1165
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid distensibility
  • Carotid sonography
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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