Carotid artery stenting (CAS) in calcified arteries carries a higher peri-operative risk. This study investigates the relationship between the stretching limits of carotid plaque samples and calcification in order to determine a stretch tolerance criterion for endovascular intervention. Seventeen carotid plaque samples were acquired from standard endarterectomy procedures. The maximum stretch capability of the global plaque was determined by circumferentially extending the tissue to complete failure. Quantitative assessment of calcification was performed using high resolution computed tomography, including measures of percent calcification volume fraction (%CVF) and calcification configuration. Maximum stretch properties were then related to calcification measures in order to evaluate the predictive power of calcification for determining plaque stretching limits. A strong negative correlation was found between %CVF and stretch ratio with respect to specific calcification configuration types. All plaques with < 70% stenosis superseded the minimum required stretch threshold. Severe stenosis (> 70%) warrants a stretch of at least 2.33 during revascularisation and only plaques containing concentric calcifications with < 20% CVF successfully reached this minimum required stretch threshold. The addition of calcification measures to the stenosis classification may help in guiding endovascular intervention techniques to achieve a balance between an acceptable residual patency level while avoiding plaque rupture in calcified carotid plaques.
University of Limerick ->