The composition of an atherosclerotic lesion, rather than solely the degree of stenosis, is considered to be an important determinant of acute coronary events. Whereas until recently only invasive techniques have been able to provide clues about plaque composition with consistent reproducibility, several recent studies have revealed the potential of multislice computed tomography (MSCT) for noninvasive plaque imaging. Coronary MSCT has the potential to detect coronary plaques and to characterize their composition based on the X-ray attenuating features of each structure. MSCT may also reveal the total plaque burden (calcified and noncalcified components) for individual patients with coronary atherosclerosis. However, several parameters (i. e. lumen attenuation, convolution filtering, body mass index of the patient, and contrast to noise ratio of the images) are able to modify the attenuation values that are used to define the composition of coronary plaques. The detection of vulnerable plaques will require more sophisticated scanners combined with newer software applications able to provide quantitative information. The aim of this article is to discuss the potential benefits and limitations of MSCT in coronary plaque imaging.

Coronary atherosclerosis, Coronary calcification, Multislice computed tomography, Vulnerable plaque,
European Radiology, Supplement
Department of Cardiology

Cademartiri, F, la Grutta, L, Palumbo, A, Maffei, E, Runza, G, Bartolotta, T.V, … Krestin, G.P. (2006). Coronary plaque imaging with multislice computed tomography: Technique and clinical applications. European Radiology, Supplement, 16(7). doi:10.1007/s10406-006-0195-0