Contemporary coronary imaging from patient to plaque: Part 4 magnetic resonance imaging
Lindsay AC., Murray SW., Choudhury RP.
In recent years a large amount of research has focused on developing both invasive and non-invasive methods of assessing atherosclerosis. In this regard, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is safe, noninvasive, requires no ionising radiation, and is capable of giving high-resolution images of atherosclerotic plaque. As a result, MRI has been extensively applied to imaging of the vascular system - in particular, the carotid arteries - where it has been shown to have the ability to not only accurately quantify the extent of atherosclerotic plaque disease, but also to identify several compositional features suggestive of plaque vulnerability. Imaging of the relatively small coronary arteries has, until now, been limited by the problems of cardiac and respiratory motion, however, more recently, technological advancements have allowed more detailed plaque information to be acquired. This article will review the origins of MRI imaging of atherosclerotic disease, its current status, and its potential future applications.