Objective. Spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) is composed of numerous microechoes swirling in the cardiovascular lumen, usually appearing during blood stasis. This study aimed to clarify the clinical importance of SEC in the carotid artery (CA) in patients with ischemic cerebrovascular disease (ICVD). Methods. In 264 CAs of 132 consecutive patients with ICVD and in 40 CAs of 20 healthy control subjects, SEC was classified as none, faint, or dense, and CA abnormalities, including plaque, plaque ulcer, mural thrombus, and internal CA stenosis, were assessed with 10-MHz sonography. Results. The overall prevalence of SEC was greater in CAs of patients with ICVD (164/264 [62%]) than in CAs of control subjects (6/40 [15%]; P < .0001). Dense SEC was more specifically detected in CAs of ICVD with the prevalence of 81 (31%) of 264, which was greater than that of controls (1/40 [3%]; P = .0002). Dense SEC was more frequently detected in CAs with plaque (38/98 [39%]) than in those without (43/166 [26%]; P = .0285), in CA plaque with ulcerative lesions (7/10 [70%]) than in those without (31/88 [35%]; P = .0325), in CA plaque with a thrombus (11/12 [92%]) than in those without (27/86 [31%]; P < .0001), and in CAs with severe stenosis (11/13 [85%]) than in those with mild stenosis (25/75 [33%]; P = .0005) and in those without stenosis (45/176 [26%]; P < .0001). Conclusions. Dense SEC was frequently observed in CAs of patients with ICVD, especially in those with local atheromatous lesions, although the influence of systemic factors could not be excluded. Dense SEC within a CA may be a marker of ICVD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging