Over the last 3 decades there have been substantial improvements in treatments aimed at reducing cardiovascular (CV) events. As these treatments have been developed, there have been parallel improvements in coronary imaging modalities that can assess plaque volumes and composition, using both invasive and noninvasive techniques. Plaque progression can be seen to precede CV events, and therefore, many studies have longitudinally assessed changes in plaque characteristics in response to various treatments, aiming to demonstrate plaque regression and improvements in high-risk features, with the rationale being that this will reduce CV events. In the past, decisions surrounding treatments for atherosclerosis have been informed by population-based risk scores for initiation in primary prevention and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels for titration in secondary prevention. If outcome data linking plaque regression to reduced CV events emerge, it may become possible to directly image plaque treatment response to guide management decisions.
Keywords: atherosclerotic plaque; coronary artery disease; imaging; ischemic heart disease; plaque modification.
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