Non-invasive characterisation of coronary lesion morphology and composition by multislice CT: First results in comparison with intracoronary ultrasound

A. F. Kopp, S. Schroeder, A. Baumbach, A. Kuettner, C. Georg, B. Ohnesorge, M. Heuschmid, R. Kuzo, C. D. Claussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


The reliable non-invasive detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) is a prime goal for future developments in clinical cardiology. In addition to the documentation of high-grade stenoses, the detection of vulnerable plaques is of major importance for risk stratification and early treatment to prevent plaque rupture. Recently, a new generation of fast spiral CT has been introduced using a multi-slice technique (MSCT), which is the first real quantum leap in CT since the introduction of spiral CT in the early 1990s. We report on non-invasive differentiation of coronary plaque morphology by MSCT in patients with lesions in the proximal left anterior descending artery (LAD). The results were compared with the findings of intracoronary ultrasound (ICUS). The ICUS and MSCT scans were analysed in 6 patients scheduled for ICUS-guided PTCA. One target lesion was selected in each patient. On ICUS, two lesions were classified as soft, two as intermediate and two as calcified according to established criteria based on echogenicity. By multislice CT, density measurements (expressed in Hounsfield Units, HU) were performed at 16 randomly selected areas within the plaques. The two soft plaques showed a mean density of 6 ± 28 and -5 ± 25 HU, the two intermediate plaques of 83 ± 17 and 51 ± 19 HU, and the two calcified plaques of 489 ± 372 and 423 ± 111 HU. To our knowledge, this is the first report on non-invasive characterisation of coronary lesions by MSCT. Plaque composition could be clearly differentiated and classified according to the ICUS results by determining tissue density within the lesions. Thus, this new technology holds promise for non-invasive risk assessment in patients with known or suspected CAD since also rupture-prone soft coronary lesions can be detected by use of this new technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1607-1611
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Intracoronary ultrasound
  • Multislice CT
  • Plaque morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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