Magnetic resonance elastography through atherosclerosis: A seasibility study

Lauren Thomas-Seale, P Kennedy, L Hollis, S Hammer, T Anderson, S Mirsadraee, D Klatt, I Sack, P Pankaj, N Roberts, PR Hoskins

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It is widely acknowledged that assessing the rupture risk of atherosclerotic plaques, via lumen reduction, is an imperfect criterion and that other properties such as those related to biomechanics may be more relevant. This study
investigated the hypothesis that magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) can be used to image the elasticity of atherosclerotic plaques with the aim to give a better indication of rupture risk.

Atherosclerotic plaques were imaged through a small feasibility data set including stenosed arterial phantoms, healthy volunteers and peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients. Comparison of the healthy volunteer and PAD patient wave displacement images showed differences in noise levels, wave amplitudes and wave propagation
through the lumen. However, the change in shear moduli through healthy and diseased areas of the phantoms and in vivo subjects could not be detected. Synthetic modelling of the arterial phantoms, under replicated imaging
conditions, suggested that there is scope to improve the results through increased control of the phantom and the inclusion of more realistic blood mimic.

The MRE wave displacement appeared highly damped through the lumen of the atherosclerotic PAD data sets when compared to the healthy volunteers. This interesting result indicates that the presences of disease, likely to be
calcified plaques, are causing changes in the wave propagation that may be captured using MRE. There is scope to clarify the conclusions in this study by developing the technique, particularly the imaging acquisition parameters
and inversion algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1000481
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology
Issue number12
Early online date10 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2016


  • Arterial elastography
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • FEA
  • MRI
  • MRE
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Shear wave imaging


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