Aortic aneurysms and dissections (AAD) are highly lethal conditions. Early detection of aortic degeneration and prediction of disease progression is critical for improving outcomes in these patients. Currently, AAD is diagnosed solely by measuring vessel diameter using non-invasive imaging techniques, such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) angiography and magnetic resonance angiography. Although these techniques exhibit very high sensitivity for the detection of aortic enlargement, they are unable to detect aortic degeneration that occurs before changes in diameter are evident. Nanoparticle contrast agents, due to their unique physicochemical properties, may serve as a sensitive tool for probing early stages of aortic degeneration. In this proposal, we seek to evaluate contrast-enhanced CT (CECT) using a nanoparticle contrast agent for characterization and prediction of AAD. We hypothesize that CECT imaging using a nanoparticle contrast agent will (1) facilitate in vivo visualization of early stages of aortic degeneration that precede aortic enlargement, and (2) enable differentiation of stable aortic disease from progressive disease that is prone to rupture. CECT imaging will be performed in a clinically-relevant mouse model of sporadic aortic AAD. CECT findings will be compared with post-mortem gross and microscopic evaluation of excised aortas. Successful completion of this work would provide a CT-based method for early diagnosis and monitoring of aortic diseases.
|Program type||Collaborative Sciences Award|
|Effective start/end date||07/01/2019 → 06/30/2022|