Plaque hemorrhage in carotid artery disease: Pathogenesis, clinical and biomechanical considerations


Stroke remains the most prevalent disabling illness today, with internal carotid artery luminal stenosis due to atheroma formation responsible for the majority of ischemic cerebrovascular events. Severity of luminal stenosis continues to dictate both patient risk stratification and the likelihood of surgical intervention. But there is growing evidence to suggest that plaque morphology may help improve pre-existing risk stratification criteria. Plaque components such a fibrous tissue, lipid rich necrotic core and calcium have been well investigated but plaque hemorrhage (PH) has been somewhat overlooked. In this review we discuss the pathogenesis of PH, its role in dictating plaque vulnerability, PH imaging techniques, marterial properties of atherosclerotic tissues, in particular, those obtained based on in vivo measurements and effect of PH in modulating local biomechanics.