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Italian Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 2009 December;16(4);203-21

Copyright © 2010 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Update on carotid artery imaging

Saba L. 1, Mallarini G. 1, 2

1 Department of Radiology, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria (A.O.U.) of Cagliari, Polo di Monserrato, s.s. 554 Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy 2 Institute of Radiology, Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio, Cagliari, Italy


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Atherosclerosis is a common systemic problem with multiple arterial sites affected. Some degree of carotid artery narrowing has been reported in up to 75% of men aged >65 years. Stroke is the third leading cause of severe disability in the Western World bringing about every year 4.5 millions of deaths. Extracranial carotid atherosclerotic disease is the major risk factor for the stroke. Nowadays, in the clinical practice, the therapeutical approach is still primary based on the luminal stenosis; however some morphological features of carotid plaques (intraplaque hemorrhage, plaque’s ulcerations, luminal thrombosis, fissured fibrous cap) are associated with and increased risk of stroke. Purpose of this review is to discuss the current state of the art non imaging diagnostic strategies to quantify the luminal stenosis and the to characterize the vulnerable plaques.

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