Nowadays it is widely accepted that the rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque in coronary and carotid arteries plays a fundamental role in the development of acute myocardial infarctions or cerebrovascular events. In recent years, imaging techniques have explored, with a new level of detail, the atherosclerotic disease generating new evidences that some plaque characteristics are significantly associated to the risk of rupture and subsequent thrombosis or embolization. Moreover, the recent evidence of the anti-atherosclerotic effects determined by lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory therapies poses a challenge for the choice of therapeutic approaches (best/optimal medical therapy vs. revascularization), maximized by the evidence that coronary and carotid atherosclerosis share common patterns but also differ regarding some important features. In this Review, we discuss the similarities and differences between coronary and carotid artery vulnerable plaque from the imaging point of view and the potential implications for systemic therapies according to the emerging evidence.
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Coronary artery
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Magnetic resonance (MR)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine