Introduction

The Big Heart Disease Lie

Foods not to eat if you have Heart Disease

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Arteriosclerotic cardiovascular diseases [1], which increase their incidence in vertiginous form, were the principal cause of mortality in the industrialized countries in the latter half of the 1950s, and cause more deaths today than deaths due to cancer and accidents. In effect, arteriosclerotic diseases in general (infarct to miocardio, angina of chest, cerebrovascular accidents, and arterial diseases of the legs and arms) have caused, and continue causing, more deaths and increased consultations in emergency rooms and doctors' offices than any other disease in this century, including AIDS. Coronary arterial diseases develop due to a narrowing (stenosis) of the walls of the coronary arteries, caused by the accumulation of fibrotic material and calcium crystals [2]. In humans, the development of this type of plaque normally takes between 15 and 20 years. There exist complicated injuries, which generate the formation of thrombus; the rupture of the plaque can be considered an important mechanism of acute coronary syndromes. An imminent problem if the arteries narrow too much due to stenosis is that the blood flow diminishes significantly. A total occlusion can take

1 Laboratorio de Física Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Física de la Universidad de los Andes Meerida, Venezuela

2 Centre de Visitó per Computador, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Edifici O, Campus UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain

Artery cross section by IVUS ui i ~ IVUS catheter

Artery cross section by IVUS ui i ~ IVUS catheter

Figure 1.1: Typical 2D IVUS image indicating the location of the principal morphological arterial structures and artifacts.

place if the increase in stenosis persists and can become serious due to a thrombosis. The result can be an infarct. The introduction of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) [3,4] in the field of medical image as an exploratory technique has made a significant change to the understanding of thearterial diseases and individual patterns of diseases in coronary arteries. Although coronary angiography [5,6] provides with 2D information about the coronary anatomy, serving as a guide in operations, it has limitations when not allowed to access the mechanism of the disease, its composition, and its extent. On the contrary, the IVUS technique shows the cross-section (Fig. 1.1) of the artery, allowing an evaluation of the plaque as well as of the different layers in the arterial wall. The IVUS image [2,5,6] provides qualitative (Fig. 1.2) information about the causes and severity of the narrowing of the arterial lumen, distinguishes the thrombus of the arteriosclerotic plaque, shows calcium deposits in the arterial wall, evaluates the changes and complications in the coronary arteries that occur after an intervention such as angioplasty, evaluates and diagnoses coronary arterial aneurysms, and diagnoses fissures of arterial coronary plaques: determination and location, dimensions, type (eccentric and concentric), and composition of the arteriosclerotic plaque.

Lumen border Maximum plaque -4

thickness

Lumen border Maximum plaque -4

thickness

Minimum plaque thickness

Figure 1.2: Geometric parameters of an artery that make it possible to measure by means of intravascular ultrasound.

Minimum plaque thickness

Figure 1.2: Geometric parameters of an artery that make it possible to measure by means of intravascular ultrasound.

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