Measurement of enhanced vasa vasorum density in a porcine carotid model using photon counting detector CT

Jeffrey F. Marsh, Andrew J. Vercnocke, Kishore Rajendran, Shengzhen Tao, Jill L. Anderson, Erik L. Ritman, Shuai Leng, Cynthia H. McCollough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The onset of atherosclerosis is preceded by changes in blood perfusion within the arterial wall due to localized proliferation of the vasa vasorum. The purpose of this study was to quantify these changes in spatial density of the vasa vasorum using a research whole-body photon-counting detector CT (PCD-CT) scanner and a porcine model. Approach: Vasa vasorum angiogenesis was stimulated in the left carotid artery wall of anesthetized pigs (n = 5) while the right carotid served as a control. After a 6-week recovery period, the animals were scanned on the PCD-CT prior to and after injection of iodinated contrast. Annular regions of interest were used to measure wall enhancement in the injured and control arteries. The exactWilcoxon-signed rank test was used to determine whether a significant difference in contrast enhancement existed between the injured and control arterial walls. Results: The greatest arterial wall enhancement was observed following contrast recirculation. The wall enhancement measurements made over these time points revealed that the enhancement was greater in the injured artery for 13/16 scanned arterial regions. Using an exact Wilcoxonsigned rank test, a significantly increased enhancement ratio was found in injured arteries compared with control arteries (p = 0.013). Vasa vasorum angiogenesis was confirmed in micro-CT scans of excised arteries. Conclusions: Whole-body PCD-CT scanners can be used to detect and quantify the increased perfusion occurring within the porcine carotid arterial wall resulting from an increased density of vasa vasorum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016001
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • arterial wall perfusion
  • atherosclerosis
  • computed tomography
  • intravascular contrast agent
  • photon counting detector
  • vasa vasorum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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