Embolic complications after carotid artery stenting or carotid endarterectomy are associated with tissue characteristics of carotid plaques evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging



      Unstable carotid plaques are associated with an increased incidence of embolic complications after carotid artery stenting (CAS) or carotid endarterectomy (CEA). The aim of this study was to elucidate the relationship between the tissue components of carotid plaques and the incidence of new ipsilateral silent ischemic lesions (NISIL) after CAS or CEA.


      We performed CAS in 56 patients and CEA in 25 patients. We also performed quantitative analyses of carotid plaque characteristics before treatment using T1 weighted black-blood magnetic resonance imaging (BB-MRI). The signal intensity ratio (SIR) was defined as the ratio of signal intensity evaluated by BB-MRI in carotid plaques to that of sternocleidomastoid muscle. According to criteria that we and other investigators previously reported, an SIR ≥ 1.25 was defined as “high”. NISIL were evaluated by diffusion-weighted imaging of MRI before and after CAS or CEA.


      In the high SIR group, the incidence of NISIL was significantly greater after CAS than after CEA (61% vs 13%, respectively, p = 0.006), whereas there were no significant difference in NISIL after the two procedures when the SIR was <1.25 (21% vs 0%). In multivariate regression analysis, the independent predictors of NISIL were CAS (p = 0.002), symptomatic stenosis (p = 0.036) and the SIR (p = 0.049).


      Noninvasive quantitative tissue characterization of carotid plaques using BB-MRI is useful to determine the indication for CAS.


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