The role of near-infrared spectroscopy in the detection of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques
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Submission date: 2014-11-06
Final revision date: 2015-04-02
Acceptance date: 2015-04-20
Online publication date: 2016-10-24
Publication date: 2016-10-20
Arch Med Sci 2016;12(6):1308-1316
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Most acute coronary syndromes are caused by a rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque which can be characterized by a lipid-rich necrotic core with an overlying thin fibrous cap. Many vulnerable plaques can cause angiographically mild stenoses due to positive remodelling, which is why the extent of coronary artery disease may be seriously underestimated. In recent years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in interventional cardiology. We no longer focus solely on the degree of stenosis; rather, we seek to determine the true extent of atherosclerotic disease. We seek to identify high-risk plaques for improvement in risk stratification of patients and prevention. Several imaging methods have been developed for this purpose. Intracoronary near-infrared spectroscopy is one of the most promising. Here, we discuss the possible applications of this diagnostic method and provide a comprehensive overview of the current knowledge.
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