Vascular imaging technology helps quantify artery plaque buildup

A new study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai Health System in New York suggests that 3D vascular ultrasound technology can help physicians assess cardiovascular disease risks based on the amount of plaque in arteries.

The large population study is the first of its kind and was published online July 10 in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In the study, researchers examined bilateral carotid and femoral arteries in more than 3,800 patients who had no cardiovascular disease history and were employees of the Banco de Santander in Madrid, Spain. The investigators used the Philips iU22 ultrasound system with a VL13-5 3D volume-linear array transducer to assess plaque burdens.

Results showed that at an average age of 45, plaque burden in patients was more than twice as high in men as in women, and generally higher in femoral arteries.

“3DVUS is a feasible, reproducible, and novel imaging technique for quantifying early carotid and femoral atherosclerotic burden in large populations,” said the study’s lead author, Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital, in a statement. “This novel method is valid for imaging superficial peripheral atherosclerosis burden from early to advanced stages of disease and can be applied to identification of individuals at risk, targeting or monitoring treatment. Further studies are needed, however, to assess the cost utility of this method compared with others when used in large-scale practice settings and population-based epidemiological studies.”