Conventional gray-scale images of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) cannot accurately differentiate histologic subtypes of sonolucent coronary plaques with or without a lipid core.We analyzed radiofrequency signals obtained in vitro from 24 regions of interest (ROI) of noncalcified (sonolucent) plaques in 10 atherosclerotic coronary artery specimens pressure-fixed by formalin. Radiofrequency signals were sampled with a 30-MHz IVUS catheter and digitized at 500 MHz in 8-bit resolution. The ROIs were histologically categorized into 12 plaques with a lipid core and 12 plaques without it. Integrated backscatter and statistical parameters of the radiofrequency envelope (mean/SD ratio [MSR], skewness, and kurtosis) within the ROI were calculated offline, and their ability to detect a lipid core was compared with visual analysis of the IVUS video images. In the group with lipid cores, percent area of a lipid core in each ROI was measured in a digitized histologic image by a computerized planimeter.Sensitivity and specificity of MSR, skewness, and kurtosis for lipid core detection were substantially greater than visual video image analysis (83.3% and 91.7%, 100% and 91.7%, 100% and 91.7% vs 53.3% and 71.7%). Furthermore, the parameters of integrated backscatter, MSR, skewness, and kurtosis were significantly correlated to percent of core area (r = -0.64, -0.73, 0.78, and 0.63, respectively; P<.05).Compared with IVUS video images, the parameters of radiofrequency signal analysis may be used to aid in more accurate detection and quantitative evaluation of a lipid core, which is one of the major factors of a vulnerable coronary plaque.
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View details for PubMedID 11011329