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Curr Pharm Des. 2003;9(29):2403-15.

New technological developments in the clinical imaging of atherosclerotic plaque.

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Deptartment of Information Engineering, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


Direct visualization of the composition of the atherosclerotic plaque during its natural history and after therapeutic intervention may be helpful in detecting lesions with high risk of acute events and in understanding progression and regression of the disease. A wide variety of invasive and non-invasive imaging techniques is available to detect clue aspects of atherosclerosis from the early stage to the clinical evidence appearance. We will firstly review the ongoing technological and clinical research on both invasive and non-invasive techniques. Afterward, we will discuss in detail the use of high-resolution, multi-contrast magnetic resonance imaging for non-invasive imaging of the plaque and its characterization in terms of its various components (i.e., thickness, lipid, fibrous, calcium, or thrombus). Finally, we will describe the potential of quantitative analysis in describing of plaque constituents with improved reproducibility.

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