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Vascular calcification plays a prominent role in cardiovascular disease. Once considered to be a passive consequence of aging, this pathological process is now accepted to be dynamic and tightly regulated, its onset triggered by inflammation and necrosis and its progression bearing key similarities to osteogenesis. A major potential advance in our ability to understand the natural history and clinical implications of vascular calcification is the detection of its early and dynamic stages through the use of the positron-emitting radiotracer, (18)F-sodium fluoride. Alongside anatomical information gained from computed tomography, hybrid positron emission and computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging with (18)F-sodium fluoride has, for the first time, enabled the non-invasive detection of microcalcification within the aortic valve, great vessels, and vulnerable coronary plaque. This has raised promise that exploring this process may allow improved risk prediction, better application of current therapies and ultimately the development of novel treatments to target this widespread pathology.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert rev cardiovasc ther

Publication Date





691 - 701


18F-sodium fluoride, Microcalcification, cardiovascular disease, hybrid PET/CT imaging, vulnerable coronary plaque, Disease Progression, Early Diagnosis, Humans, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography, Predictive Value of Tests, Radiographic Image Enhancement, Radiopharmaceuticals, Sodium Fluoride, Vascular Calcification