This study was performed to further validate a method for intraoperative ultrasound imaging of coronary arteries. Ultrasound images of coronary atherosclerotic lesions were compared with anatomic specimens of the coronary arteries obtained from open chest human subjects. The anatomic specimens were derived from four cardiac transplant recipients, accepted as candidates for transplantation because they had severe diffuse atherosclerotic disease, and one patient who died in the early postoperative period after a coronary artery bypass procedure. Twenty-six ultrasonically imaged atherosclerotic areas of the coronary arteries in these patients were compared with formalin-fixed and decalcified anatomic specimens. Specific ultrasound appearances for atherosclerotic lesions were observed, including 1) discrete (focal) stenosing fibrous/atheromatous plaques; 2) diffuse nonobstructive fibrous/atheromatous disease (detectable even in anatomically small vessels); 3) complete occlusion by fibrous/atheromatous lesions or organizing thrombus; and 4) 'shadowing', an ultrasound pattern characteristic of significant calcification within atherosclerotic plaques. As part of this study, a new 12 MHz water path probe was evaluated for coronary artery scanning. The new probe allowed improved access to coronary arteries and increeased detail of anatomic visualization. Both the performance of the new high resolution probe and the knowledge gained by the anatomic correlations obtained in this study should aid the development of intraoperative coronary artery scanning for surgical localization of atherosclerotic disease during coronary bypass surgery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas