I hope you have as much fun reading this issue of Neuroimaging Clinics as I had putting it together. As you can tell, all the world experts in carotid plaque imaging that contributed to this issue have a deep passion for improving our patients’ health and well-being. Simply measuring carotid stenosis is so last millennium. We have so many tools to help clinicians better gauge the future cardiovascular risk of their patients. The challenge is translating their excellent research on carotid plaque imaging into useful clinical imaging strategies.
The focus of this issue is the clinical application of this excellent carotid plaque research. A talented group of international experts reviews the current state-of-the-art MR imaging of carotid plaque with recent efforts to utilize all 3D MR imaging of carotid plaque and computer-assisted analysis of multicontrast carotid plaque MR imaging and to incorporate carotid plaque imaging into routine clinical carotid MR angiography. Another distinguished group of experts share with us current state-of-the-art PET-CT and PET-MR imaging of carotid plaque. Last, but certainly not least, we read about the exciting developments of 3D carotid plaque ultrasound and contrast-enhanced carotid plaque ultrasound.
After reviewing the best that MR imaging, PET, and ultrasound has to offer, we hear from radiologists on their efforts to better assess risk through the detection of vulnerable plaque in patients with “cryptogenic” stroke, use of plaque imaging in asymptomatic carotid stenosis patients, as well as implications of MR imaging in patients with low-grade carotid stenosis. We also read about unusual causes of cerebral embolism and how the radiologist can suggest the correct diagnosis that will significantly impact patient management.
We end this issue with what I hope will be a terrific resource for you to begin a discussion with your referring clinicians about using carotid plaque imaging. A world-renowned vascular surgeon and a stroke neurologist give us their clinical perspective of using carotid plaque imaging to decide on optimal treatment of patients with carotid stenosis.
I would like to thank all the authors for their excellent work and hope that, you, the readers, can take advantage of their efforts to improve the care of your patients with carotid stenosis.