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Keywords:

  • phase contrast;
  • synchrotron X-rays;
  • microtomography;
  • embolic debris;
  • cerebral protection device;
  • carotid artery stenting

Phase-contrast synchrotron X-ray microtomography (pcSyncX) based on the highly coherent X-ray beam has previously been used to visualize the microstructures of biologic specimens, but it has never been used to evaluate embolic debris adherent on a cerebral protection device (CPD). The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of pcSyncX for evaluating embolic debris during carotid artery stenting (CAS). Five patients (four males, age range 67–77 years) with severe carotid artery stenosis underwent CAS. The retrieved CPD was exposed to synchrotron radiation and 1000 pcSyncX projection images were obtained by rotating the CPD through 180°. An X-ray shadow of a CPD was converted into a visual image by the scintillator. After microtomographic reconstruction, the three-dimensionally reconstructed images were further segmented into the embolic debris and CPD. The total volume of emboli was calculated by summing the volume at each scanning level. The number of membrane pores covered by emboli as seen from the outer surface was counted and the percentage of covered area was calculated. Embolic debris was clearly demonstrated not only on the inner surface and within pores but also on the outer surface of the CPD. The mean total volume of embolic debris was 0.538 × 10–6 mm3 (range 0.225–0.965 × 10–6 mm3). Most (61.5%) of the debris was located at the apical one-third of the CPD and 20.8% of the pore area was covered by debris.