Molecular imaging of the atherosclerotic plaque using positron emission tomography

I S Toor, M R Dweck, D E Newby

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Accurately assessing an individual's risk of myocardial infarction or stroke using currently available risk stratification tools remains a challenge, even in patients with symptomatic disease. Inflammation, micro-calcification and intra-plaque angiogenesis occur during the development and ultimate rupture of vulnerable plaques. Molecular imaging techniques such as combined positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) offer the opportunity to target these key cellular processes within atheroma and identify high-risk lesions. In this review we will set out the studies that have demonstrated the feasibility of PET/CT imaging in assessing atherosclerotic plaque inflammation, micro-calcification and angiogenesis. We will also discuss the potential of PET/CT molecular imaging as both a screening tool for novel therapeutic interventions and as a means of improving cardiovascular risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-45
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sodium Fluoride
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


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