Assessment of carotid stiffness and intima-media thickness from ultrasound data: Comparison between two methods

Elisabetta Bianchini, Erwan Bozec, Vincenzo Gemignani, Francesco Faita, Chiara Giannarelli, Lorenzo Ghiadoni, Marcello Demi, Pierre Boutouyrie, Stéphane Laurent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Objective. Increased arterial stiffness and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) are considered independent predictors of cardiovascular events. The aim of this study was to compare a system recently developed in our laboratory for automatic assessment of these parameters from ultrasound image sequences to a reference radio frequency (RF) echo-tracking system. Methods. Common carotid artery scans of 21 patients with cardiovascular risk factors and 12 healthy volunteers were analyzed by both devices for the assessment of diameter (D), IMT, and distension (ΔD). In the healthy volunteers, analyses were repeated twice to evaluate intraobserver variability. Agreement was evaluated by Bland-Altman analysis, whereas reproducibility was expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV). Results. Regarding the agreement between the two systems, bias values ± SD were 0.060 ± 0.110 mm for D, -0.006 ± 0.039 mm for IMT, and -0.016 ± 0.039 mm for ΔD. Intraobserver CVs were 2% ± 2% for D, 5% ± 5% for IMT, and 6% ± 6% for ΔD with the RF echo-tracking system and 2% ± 1% for D, 6% ± 6% for IMT, and 8% ± 6% for ΔD with our automated system. Conclusions. Although B-mode-based devices are less precise than RF-based ones, our automated system has good agreement with the reference method and comparable reproducibility, at least when high-quality images are analyzed. Hence, this study suggests that the presented system based on image processing from standard ultrasound scans is a suitable device for measuring IMT and local arterial stiffness parameters in clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1175
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • B-mode
  • Carotid stiffness
  • Intima-media thickness
  • Radio frequency echo tracking
  • Ultrasound


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