Mineral volume and morphology in carotid plaque specimens using high-resolution MRI and CT

Ronald L. Wolf, Suzanne L. Wehrli, Andra M. Popescu, John H. Woo, Hee Kwon Song, Alexander C. Wright, Emile R. Mohler, John D. Harding, Eric L. Zager, Ronald M. Fairman, Michael A. Golden, Omaida C. Velazquez, Jeffrey P. Carpenter, Felix W. Wehrli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective - High-resolution MRI methods have been used to evaluate carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque content. The purpose of this study was to assess the performance of high-resolution MRI in evaluation of the quantity and pattern of mineral deposition in carotid em arterectomy (CEA) specimens, with quantitative micro-CT as the gold standard. Methods and Results - High-resolution MRI and CT were compared in 20 CEA specimens. Linear regression comparing mineral volumes generated from CT (VCT) and MRI (V MRI) data demonstrated good correlation using simple thresholding (VMRI=-0.01+0.98VCT; R2=0.90; threshold=4×noise) and k-means clustering methods (VMRI= -0.005+1.38VCT; R2=0.93). Bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC [mineral mass]) were calculated for CT data and BMC verified with ash weight. Patterns of mineralization like particles, granules, and sheets were more clearly depicted on CT. Conclusions - Mineral volumes generated from MRI or CT data were highly correlated. CT provided a more detailed depiction of mineralization patterns and provided BMD and BMC in addition to mineral volume. The extent of mineralization as well as the morphology may ultimately be useful in assessing plaque stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1729-1735
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Carotid arteries
  • Computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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