The pathogenesis, analysis and imaging methods of atherosclerotic disease of the carotid artery: Review of the literature

Lysa Legault Kingstone, Geoffrey Currie, Carlos Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cerebrovascular (CVA) accidents are the second leading cause of death worldwide and their numbers are increasing. Strokes can arise from several causes, with extracranial carotid artery atherosclerosis (CAS) being one of the leading causes. CAS causes these strokes either by diminishing blood flow distal to the diseased stenotic segment of the artery or, as more recently discovered, by a thromboembolic event of material from the plaque site itself. The specific etiology of CAS is unknown, but causative factors in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque of the carotid arteries have been linked to specific morphological areas within the plaque that may be vulnerable to rupture, leading to thromboemboli into the cerebrovascular circulation.The current means for imaging and reporting CAS is through the measurement of the severity of luminal diameter stenosis caused by atherosclerotic disease. Recent developments in medical imaging techniques have expanded the role of early imaging and detection of CAS. Although current practice uses luminal narrowing as the surrogate marker to assess CAS, it has been recently discovered that plaque morphology and composition may help predict the clinical behavior of CAS and better determine the necessary medical intervention or risk of stroke. Although a single optimized imaging modality for standard CAS imaging has not been established or agreed on, various modalities can provide key elements to a successful exam. This review article will evaluate the most commonly used methods for CAS imaging along with the new and upcoming uses, advantages, and limitations for advanced CAS imaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-94
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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