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Am J Med Sci. 2008 Oct;336(4):342-8. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31816c7bdf.

Imaging of the vulnerable plaque: noninvasive and invasive techniques.

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  • 1First Department of Cardiology, Hippokration Hospital, University of Athens, Greece. stam_lerakis@emoryhealthcare.org

Abstract

In a large proportion of previously asymptomatic individuals, sudden coronary death or acute myocardial infarction occurs as the first manifestation of coronary atherosclerosis. Imaging of coronary atheromatous plaques has traditionally centered on assessing the degree of luminal stenosis. The angiographic techniques that are routinely used to identify stenotic atherosclerotic lesions are unable to identify high-risk plaques; plaques prone to rupture and cause a cardiovascular event. This is partly due to the fact that the majority of culprit lesions that produce acute cardiovascular syndromes are not severely stenotic, possibly due to significant positive remodeling and reduced protective collateral circulation as well as because the risk of plaque rupture is more closely related to plaque content than plaque size. Recently, the focus of new imaging techniques is to identify the high risk plaques; the "vulnerable plaques." In this review, we will refer to the noninvasive and invasive techniques that can detect the vulnerable plaque.

PMID:
18854678
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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