HomeTechnological cornerMDCT of vulnerable plaque in the carotid arteries

MDCT of vulnerable plaque in the carotid arteries

    L. Saba


    Atherosclerosis is a highly prevalent pathology. Carotid artery narrowing due to atherosclerosis has been reported in up to 75% of men and 62% of women aged 65 years and older [1]. In the past, identifying atherosclerosis of the carotid artery involved measuring the degree of luminal stenosis and assessing surface irregularities using digital subtraction angiography. However, the degree of luminal stenosis, as a marker of atherosclerotic disease severity, has been criticized because of reports that plaques causing only mild-to-moderate stenosis may rupture and lead to acute cerebral infarction [2]. Over the last 15 years, histopathological studies have demonstrated that some plaque features (e.g. ulceration, intraplaque hemorrhage, fissured fibrous cap) were associated with the risk of plaque rupture. These features may be studied with fast MDCT imaging, which allows looking beyond the lumen to identify areas of vulnerable plaque and to understand the features of this lesion that increase the risk of rupture and distal embolization [3].