The underlying pathologic mechanism of most acute coronary syndromes is atherosclerotic plaque rupture. One cause of rupture is plaque inflammation, leading to fibrous cap destabilization. Several imaging techniques, including x-ray coronary angiography and multislice CT, can be used for the detection of coronary atherosclerosis. However, these anatomical methods cannot measure arterial inflammation. Positron emission tomography imaging of atherosclerosis using the metabolic marker fluorodeoxyglucose allows quantification of arterial inflammation across multiple vessels. This review discusses the rationale, utility, potential future applications, and limitations of this emerging biomarker of cardiovascular risk.