Author(s): Crouse JR rd
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Abstract The ability to image obstructive arterial disease brought about a revolution in clinical cardiovascular care; the development of newer technologies that image arterial wall thicknesses, areas, volumes, and composition allows valid imaging of atherosclerosis for the first time. Development of noninvasive imaging of atherosclerosis has further led to a quantum shift in research in the field by enabling the study of asymptomatic populations and thus allowing investigators to focus on preclinical disease without the many biases associated with the study of symptomatic patients. These noninvasive investigations have broad implications for clinical care as well. Coronary angiography, computed tomographic (CT) imaging of coronary calcium, intravascular ultrasound, multidetector CT angiography, B mode ultrasound of the carotid arteries, and MRI of the carotid arteries all have unique strengths and weaknesses for imaging atherosclerosis. Certain of these techniques are extremely useful as outcome variables for clinical trials, and others are uniquely useful as predictors of the risk of cardiovascular disease. All are informative in one way or another with regard to the role of plaque remodeling and composition in disease causation. CT and MRI technology are advancing very rapidly, and research and clinical uses of these imaging modalities promise to further advance our understanding of atherosclerosis and its prevention.
This article was published in J Lipid Res
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research