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Howarth SP, Tang TY, Graves MJ, U-King-Im JM, Li ZY, Walsh SR, Gaunt ME, Gillard JH
Non-invasive MR imaging of inflammation in a patient with both asymptomatic carotid atheroma and an abdominal aortic aneurysm: a case report.
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Inflammation is a recognized risk factor for the vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque. USPIO-enhanced MRI imaging is a promising non-invasive method to identify high-risk atheromatous plaque inflammation in vivo in humans, in which areas of focal signal loss on MR images have been shown to correspond to the location of activated macrophages, typically at the shoulder regions of the plaque. This is the first report in humans describing simultaneous USPIO uptake within atheroma in two different arterial territories and again emphasises that atherosclerosis is a truly systemic disease. With further work, USPIO-enhanced MR imaging may be useful in identifying inflamed vulnerable atheromatous plaques in vivo, so refining patient selection for intervention and allowing appropriate early aggressive pharmacotherapy to prevent plaque rupture.
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