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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2011 Oct;9(10):1315-30. doi: 10.1586/erc.11.120.

Symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid artery plaque.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Michigan State University, 138 Service Road, B208 Clinical Center, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.

Abstract

Carotid atherosclerotic plaques represent both stable and unstable atheromatous lesions. Atherosclerotic plaques that are prone to rupture owing to their intrinsic composition such as a large lipid core, thin fibrous cap and intraplaque hemorrhage are associated with subsequent thromboembolic ischemic events. At least 15-20% of all ischemic strokes are attributable to carotid artery atherosclerosis. Characterization of plaques may enhance the understanding of natural history and ultimately the treatment of atherosclerotic disease. MRI of carotid plaque and embolic signals during transcranial Doppler have identified features beyond luminal stenosis that are predictive of future transient ischemic attacks and stroke. The value of specific therapies to prevent stroke in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with severe carotid artery stenosis are the subject of current research and analysis of recently published clinical trials that are discussed in this article.

PMID:
21985544
PMCID:
PMC3243497
DOI:
10.1586/erc.11.120
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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