Imaging of the fibrous cap in atherosclerotic carotid plaque
CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology , Volume 33 - Issue 4 p. 681- 689
In the last two decades, a substantial number of articles have been published to provide diagnostic solutions for patients with carotid atherosclerotic disease. These articles have resulted in a shift of opinion regarding the identification of stroke risk in patients with carotid atherosclerotic disease. In the recent past, the degree of carotid artery stenosis was the sole determinant for performing carotid intervention (carotid endarterectomy or carotid stenting) in these patients. We now know that the degree of stenosis is only one marker for future cerebrovascular events. If one wants to determine the risk of these events more accurately, other parameters must be taken into account; among these parameters are plaque composition, presence and state of the fibrous cap (FC), intraplaque haemorrhage, plaque ulceration, and plaque location. In particular, the FC is an important structure for the stability of the plaque, and its rupture is highly associated with a recent history of transient ischaemic attack or stroke. The subject of this review is imaging of the FC.