Calcium Distribution in the Vessel Wall and Intima-Media Thickness of the Human Carotid Arteries

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Increased common carotid artery (CCA) intima-media thickness (IMT) measured by B-mode ultrasound is an early marker of the atherosclerotic process. Arterial calcification is not clearly understood. Using the particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) method, we have looked for the location in the artery wall where calcium accumulated in the early phase of atherosclerosis. Twelve segments of CCAs of deceased stroke patients were investigated. In-vivo, carotid duplex ultrasound was performed with bilateral CCA IMT measurement at plaque-free sections. During autopsy, segments of carotid arteries were collected and filled under pressure with a stained histologic embedding material. The frozen arteries were cut into 60-μm-thick slices. Calcium distribution maps from the segments of arteries were determined by PIXE method. IMT measured by ultrasound and calcium distribution maps measured by PIXE were compared. In our cross-sectional study, using the PIXE analysis and ultrasound images, we could demonstrate early calcium accumulation in the media layer. Our results have also shown a significant relationship between calcium content of distributional maps measured by PIXE analysis and corresponding IMT on B-mode ultrasound images of human CCAs. (E-mail:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1178
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2007


  • Calcium accumulation
  • Intima-media thickness
  • Particle induced X-ray emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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