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Intracoronary Imaging in the Detection of Vulnerable Plaques

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Batty, Peter LukeORCiD, Dr Hannah Sinclair, Professor Vijay KunadianORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Coronary artery disease is the result of atherosclerotic changes to the coronary arterial wall, comprising endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation and deposition of lipid-rich macrophage foam cells. Certain high-risk atherosclerotic plaques are vulnerable to disruption, leading to rupture, thrombosis and the clinical sequelae of acute coronary syndrome. Though recognised as the gold standard for evaluating the presence, distribution and severity of atherosclerotic lesions, invasive coronary angiography is incapable of identifying non-stenotic, vulnerable plaques that are responsible for adverse cardiovascular events. The recognition of such limitations has impelled the development of intracoronary imaging technologies, including intravascular ultrasound, optical coherence tomography and near-infrared spectroscopy, which enable the detailed evaluation of the coronary wall and atherosclerotic plaques in clinical practice. This review discusses the present status of invasive imaging technologies; summarises up-to-date, evidence-based clinical guidelines; and addresses questions that remain unanswered with regard to the future of intracoronary plaque imaging.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Batty JA, Subba S, Luke P, Gigi LWC, Sinclair H, Kunadian V

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Cardiology Reports

Year: 2016

Volume: 18

Issue: 3

Print publication date: 01/03/2016

Online publication date: 15/02/2016

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1523-3782

ISSN (electronic): 1534-3170

Publisher: SPRINGER


DOI: 10.1007/s11886-016-0705-1