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Accurately assessing an individual's risk of myocardial infarction or stroke using currently available risk stratification tools remains a challenge, even in patients with symptomatic disease. Inflammation, micro-calcification and intra-plaque angiogenesis occur during the development and ultimate rupture of vulnerable plaques. Molecular imaging techniques such as combined positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) offer the opportunity to target these key cellular processes within atheroma and identify high-risk lesions. In this review we will set out the studies that have demonstrated the feasibility of PET/CT imaging in assessing atherosclerotic plaque inflammation, micro-calcification and angiogenesis. We will also discuss the potential of PET/CT molecular imaging as both a screening tool for novel therapeutic interventions and as a means of improving cardiovascular risk stratification.

Original publication




Journal article


J r coll physicians edinb

Publication Date





139 - 145


angiogenesis, inflammation, micro-calcification positron emission tomography, vulnerable plaque, Fluorine Radioisotopes, Fluorodeoxyglucose F18, Humans, Molecular Imaging, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Positron-Emission Tomography, Radiopharmaceuticals, Sodium Fluoride, Tomography, X-Ray Computed