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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2012 June;60(3):305-29

language: English

Invasive imaging of the coronary atherosclerotic plaque

Van Ditzhuijzen N. S. 1, 2, Van Beusekom H. M. M. 1, Ligthart J. M. R. 1, Regar E. 1

1 Department of Cardiology, Thoraxcenter, Erasmus University Medical Center , Rotterdam, The Netherlands;
2 Cardiovascular Research School COEUR, Erasmus University Medical Center,, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Coronary atherosclerosis has a high prevalence and is known as the leading cause of death worldwide. Clinically, coronary atherosclerosis is routinely evaluated by coronary angiography, which provides a luminogram of the coronary artery and allows for recognizing lumen narrowing. However, angiography does not allow for the direct assessment of the disease process within the coronary vessel wall. Today, a number of catheter-based imaging methods can overcome this shortcoming and provide physicians with additional information on specific morphological components of atherosclerotic lesions. This article discusses the abilities of intravascular imaging techniques such as intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), IVUS-VH, iMAP, integrated backscatter-IVUS, intravascular optical coherence tomography, near-infrared spectroscopy and angioscopy, to diagnose coronary atherosclerosis and their potential to guide clinical decision making.

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