Clinical implications of vulnerable plaque.
In many individuals, the first indicator of atherosclerosis is an acute heart attack, which is often fatal. Despite innovations in medical therapy and interventional cardiology techniques, coronary artery disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the USA. There is great interest in identifying vulnerable plaques and vulnerable patients as a possible means to stem the tide against coronary artery disease. Improvements in diagnostic studies and development of novel imaging tools have opened the possibilities for significant advances in the management of vulnerable plaque. The result of improved risk stratification, by both noninvasive and invasive means, will be a better assessment of the risk/benefit relationships for the novel therapies that are needed to further reduce the morbidity and mortality of the disease. Correct identification of vulnerable plaque would permit the use of more effective systemic treatment and enable clinical trials to study the supplemental benefit from local treatments.
Berger, JS; Petersen, JL; Tcheng, JE; Phillips, HR
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