Plaque vulnerability due to inflammation has been shown to be a participating factor in the
degenerative process in the arterial wall that contributes to stenosis and embolism. This is believed to
have an important role to play also in the genesis of stroke or cerebrovascular diseases. In order to appropriately
screen patients for treatment, there is an absolute need to directly or indirectly visualize
both the normal carotid and the suspected plaque. This can be done with a variety of techniques ranging
from ultrasound to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition
to angiographic techniques, direct imaging of the plaque can be done either by ultrasound or by the so-called molecular
imaging techniques, i.e. positron emission tomography (PET). These findings, together with other clinical and paraclinical
parameters should finally guide the therapeutic choice.
Keywords: Plaque, arteriosclerosis, carotid artery, inflammation, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography.
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