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Echocardiographic integrated backscatter for detecting progression and regression of aortic valve calcifications in rats

Bram Roosens12*, Gezim Bala12, Kris Gillis12, Isabel Remory2, Steven Droogmans12, Joan Somja3, Eléonore Delvenne3, Joeri De Nayer4, Johan Schiettecatte4, Philippe Delvenne3, Patrizio Lancellotti5, Guy Van Camp1 and Bernard Cosyns12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiology, Centrum Voor Hart- en Vaatziekten (CHVZ), UZ Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 101, B-1090, Brussels, Belgium

2 In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging (ICMI), Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090, Brussels, Belgium

3 Department of Pathology, University of Liège, CHU Sart Tilman, B-4000, Liège, Belgium

4 Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry & Radioimmunology, UZ Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 101, B-1090, Brussels, Belgium

5 GIGA Cardiovascular Sciences, Heart Valve Clinic, University of Liège, CHU Sart Tilman, B-4000, Liège, Belgium

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Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2013, 11:4  doi:10.1186/1476-7120-11-4

Published: 26 January 2013



Calcification is an independent predictor of mortality in calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of non-invasive, non-ionizing echocardiographic calibrated integrated backscatter (cIB) for monitoring progression and subsequent regression of aortic valvular calcifications in a rat model of reversible renal failure with CAVD, compared to histology.


28 male Wistar rats were prospectively followed during 21 weeks. Group 1 (N=14) was fed with a 0.5% adenine diet for 9 weeks to induce renal failure and CAVD. Group 2 (N=14) received a standard diet. At week 9, six animals of each group were killed. The remaining animals of group 1 (N=8) and group 2 (N=8) were kept on a standard diet for an additional 12 weeks. cIB of the aortic valve was calculated at baseline, 9 and 21 weeks, followed by measurement of the calcified area (Ca Area) on histology.


At week 9, cIB values and Ca Area of the aortic valve were significantly increased in the adenine-fed rats compared to baseline and controls. After 12 weeks of adenine diet cessation, cIB values and Ca Area of group 1 decreased compared to week 9, while there was no longer a significant difference compared to age-matched controls of group 2.


cIB is a non-invasive tool allowing quantitative monitoring of CAVD progression and regression in a rat model of reversible renal failure, as validated by comparison with histology. This technique might become useful for assessing CAVD during targeted therapy.

Aortic valve calcifications; Calcific aortic valve disease; Echocardiography; Integrated backscatter; Renal failure; Small animal