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Yeungnam Univ J Med > Volume 21(2); 2004 > Article
Yeungnam University Journal of Medicine 2004;21(2):143-150.
DOI:    Published online December 31, 2004.
High-Resolusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaque.
Woo Mok Byun, Jae Ho Cho
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University. Daegu, Korea.
A thromboembolic stroke is believed to be precipitated by a rupture of vulnerable atheromatous plaques. Until recently the assessment of a further risk of stroke in high-risk patients in whom atherosclerosis has presented with a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), has been confined to a quantitative assessment of the luminal patency of the internal carotid artery. These traditional stratification parameters are no longer believed to be the most accurate predictors of a thrombo-embolism. This is because the process of vessel wall remodeling can maintain a luminal patency, and consequently, quite large friable plaques may remain unidentified. Accordingly, there is a need for an improved risk assessment. The fibrous cap of a vulnerable plaque is thinner, and an intraplaque hemorrhage and inflammation can occur during the development of atherosclerotic plaque. Several imaging methods for identifying vulnerable plaques have been developed. Recently, high resolution magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has emerged as an accurate non-invasive tool that can characterize the carotid plaque components in vivo. A High resolution carotid magnetic resonance is capable of distinguishing an intact, thick fibrous cap from a thin and ruptured cap in carotid plaque. In addition, a plaque MR can identify the active inflammation and detect a hemorrhage. High resolution carotid MR imaging is a valuable noninvasive method for quantifying the plaque components and identifying vulnerable plaque.
Key Words: MR, Carotid arteries, Atherosclerosis


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