Beyond Coronary Stenosis: Coronary Computed Tomographic Angiography for the Assessment of Atherosclerotic Plaque Burden
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- Kwan, A.C., Cater, G., Vargas, J. et al. Curr Cardiovasc Imaging Rep (2013) 6: 89. doi:10.1007/s12410-012-9183-z
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Coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) is emerging as a key noninvasive method for assessing cardiovascular risk by measurement of coronary stenosis and coronary artery calcium (CAC). New advancements in CCTA technology have led to the ability to directly identify and quantify the so-called “vulnerable” plaques that have features of positive remodeling and low density components. In addition, CCTA presents a new opportunity for noninvasive measurement of total coronary plaque burden that has not previously been available. The use of CCTA needs also to be balanced by its risks; in particular, the associated radiation exposure. We review current uses of CCTA, CCTA’s ability to measure plaque quantity and characteristics, and new developments in risk stratification and CCTA technology. CCTA represents a quickly developing field that will play a growing role in the non-invasive management of cardiovascular disease.