Advances in Molecular Imaging: Plaque Imaging

Here’s the abstract of a review we published recently in Current Cardiovascular Imaging Reports:-

Recent advances in nuclear plaque imaging aim to achieve noninvasive identification of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques using positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-fluorodexoyglucose (FDG) and novel tracers targeting molecular markers of inflammation and other active metabolic processes.

Nuclear imaging of atherosclerosis has been demonstrated in multiple vascular beds, including the carotid, aorta, peripheral and coronary arteries—but significant challenges remain, especially for coronary imaging. The advantage of PET over other molecular imaging modalities is its superior sensitivity, however, low spatial resolution means that images must be co-registered with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for precise anatomical localization of the PET signal.

Such hybrid techniques provide the best hope for early detection of prospective culprit lesions—which may, in the coronary vasculature, appear falsely low-risk using conventional coronary angiography or stress imaging.

Current hot topics in nuclear plaque imaging include the use of FDG-PET for therapeutic monitoring in drug development, identification of imaging biomarkers to evaluate cardiovascular risk, and the development of novel tracers against an array of biologically important markers of atherosclerosis.

The purpose of this article is to review these recent advances in nuclear plaque imaging.

The full article is available here, behind a paywall. I can send reprints as PDFs on request.