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Clin Med Insights Cardiol. 2015 Jan 7;8(Suppl 3):13-21. doi: 10.4137/CMC.S17063. eCollection 2014.

Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, and Coronary Artery Disease: PET/CT for the Evaluation of Atherosclerosis and Inflammation.

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Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, Department of Radiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.


Atherosclerosis is a prevalent cardiovascular disease marked by inflammation and the formation of plaque within arterial walls. As the disease progresses, there is an increased risk of major cardiovascular events. Owing to the nature of atherosclerosis, it is imperative to develop methods to further understand the physiological implications and progression of the disease. The combination of positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) has proven to be promising for the evaluation of atherosclerotic plaques and inflammation within the vessel walls. The utilization of the radiopharmaceutical tracer, 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG), with PET/CT is invaluable in understanding the pathophysiological state involved in atherosclerosis. In this review, we will discuss the use of (18)F-FDG-PET/CT imaging for the evaluation of atherosclerosis and inflammation both in preclinical and clinical studies. The potential of more specific novel tracers will be discussed. Finally, we will touch on the potential benefits of using the newly introduced combined PET/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for non-invasive imaging of atherosclerosis.


18F-FDG; atherosclerosis; computed tomography; inflammation; plaque; positron emission tomography

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