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Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2016 Aug;18(8):51. doi: 10.1007/s11883-016-0601-6.

Imaging Atherosclerotic Plaque Calcification: Translating Biology.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine (Section of Cardiovascular Medicine), Yale Cardiovascular Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA.
  • 2VA Connecticut Healthcare System, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT, 06516, USA.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine (Section of Cardiovascular Medicine), Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, RI, 02903, USA.
  • 4Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence, RI, 02908, USA.


Calcification of atherosclerotic lesions was long thought to be an age - related, passive process, but increasingly data has revealed that atherosclerotic calcification is a more active process, involving complex signaling pathways and bone-like genetic programs. Initially, imaging of atherosclerotic calcification was limited to gross assessment of calcium burden, which is associated with total atherosclerotic burden and risk of cardiovascular mortality and of all cause mortality. More recently, sophisticated molecular imaging studies of the various processes involved in calcification have begun to elucidate information about plaque calcium composition and consequent vulnerability to rupture, leading to hard cardiovascular events like myocardial infarction. As such, there has been renewed interest in imaging calcification to advance risk assessment accuracy in an evolving era of precision medicine. Here we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the biologic process of atherosclerotic calcification as well as some of the molecular imaging tools used to assess it.


Atherosclerosis; Calcification; Coronary artery disease; Molecular imaging; Sodium fluoride PET; Vulnerable plaque

[Available on 2017-08-01]
[PubMed - in process]
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