Inflammation is a determinant of atherosclerotic plaque rupture, the event leading to most myocardial infarctions and strokes. Although conventional imaging techniques identify the site and severity of luminal stenosis, the inflammatory status of the plaque is not addressed. Positron emission tomography imaging of atherosclerosis using the metabolic marker fluorodeoxyglucose allows quantification of arterial inflammation across multiple vessels. This review sets out the background and current and potential future applications of this emerging biomarker of cardiovascular risk, along with its limitations.
Copyright 2010 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.