Characterization of atherosclerotic plaque: A contrast-detail study using multidetector and cone-beam computed tomography

Nima Kasraie, Peter Mah, Carl R. Keener, Geoffrey D. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A Hindmarsh-Rose model perceptibility phantom containing inserts with various invitro atherosclerotic plaque compositions was constructed and imaged on a clinical 64 slice multidetector (MDCT) system using 80 and 120 kVp settings and two other cone-beam (CBCT) systems at 80 kVp. Perceptibility of the simulated lipid-fibrotic plaque solutions in the images was evaluated by six observers. The effective doses of the protocols employed were estimated using phantom CTDI-vol measurements placed at identical settings. The CBCT system allowed reduction in effective dose in comparison with the conventional MDCT system for imaging of the carotid plaque phantoms without degrading image quality. The CBCT dose was less than MDCT, with a mean dose of 1.14 ± 0.01 mSv and 1.11 ± 0.02 mSv for MDCT using two measuring techniques vs. 0.35 ± 0.01 mSv for CBCT. The image quality analysis showed no significant differences in the contrast-detail (C-D) curves of the best performing CBCT vs. clinical MDCT (p > 0.05) using a Mann-Whitney U test. Results indicate that low-tube-potential CBCT may produce comparable C-D resolution for phantom-based representations of soft plaque types with respect to MDCT systems. This study suggests that the utility of low kVp CT techniques for evaluating carotid vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque merits further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-302
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Carotid artherosclerosis
  • Cone beam
  • Contrast-detail
  • Phantoms
  • Vulnerable plaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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