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Contrast arteriography is routinely used in the diagnosis and management of coronary atherosclerosis. However, it is recognized that conventional arteriography can not image plaque directly or provide prognostic information based on plaque characterization. Noninvasive, high-resolution magnetic resonance has the potential to image coronary plaque and to determine its composition and microanatomy. This review summarizes the rationale for coronary plaque imaging, and describes the characteristics of plaque using existing MRI techniques. Current and future applications of MRI, including the development of new contrast agents, targeted molecular imaging and the application of MRI to percutaneous coronary intervention are also discussed. © 2002, European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation

Publication Date





263 - 270