Identifying vulnerable carotid plaques in vivo using high resolution magnetic resonance imaging-based finite element analysis

Trivedi, R. A., Li, Z. Y., U-King-Im, J., Graves, M. J., Kirkpatrick, P. J., & Gillard, J. H. (2007) Identifying vulnerable carotid plaques in vivo using high resolution magnetic resonance imaging-based finite element analysis. Journal of Neurosurgery, 107(3), pp. 536-542.

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Individuals with carotid atherosclerosis develop symptoms following rupture of vulnerable plaques. Biomechanical stresses within this plaque may increase vulnerability to rupture. In this report the authors describe the use of in vivo carotid plaque imaging and computational mechanics to document the magnitude and distribution of intrinsic plaque stresses.


Ten (five symptomatic and five asymptomatic) individuals underwent plaque characterization magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Plaque geometry and composition were determined by multisequence review. Intrinsic plaque stress profiles were generated from 3D meshes by using finite element computational analysis. Differences in principal (shear) stress between normal and diseased sections of the carotid artery and between symptomatic and asymptomatic plaques were noted.


There was a significant difference in peak principal stress between diseased and nondiseased segments of the artery (mean difference 537.65 kPa, p < 0.05). Symptomatic plaques had higher mean stresses than asymptomatic plaques (627.6 kPa compared with 370.2 kPa, p = 0.05), which were independent of luminal stenosis and plaque composition.


Significant differences in plaque stress exist between plaques from symptomatic individuals and those from asymptomatic individuals. The MR imaging-based computational analysis may therefore be a useful aid to identification of vulnerable plaques in vivo.

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18 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 90359
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Carotid artery, Finite element analysis, Magnetic resonance imaging, Vulnerable plaque
DOI: 10.3171/JNS-07/09/0536
ISSN: 1933-0693
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 [please consult author]
Deposited On: 18 Nov 2015 03:32
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2015 03:32

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