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In Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy

Intracranial atherosclerotic disease (ICAD) is one of the most common causes of ischemic stroke worldwide. Along with high recurrent stroke risk from ICAD, its association with cognitive decline and dementia leads to a substantial decrease in quality of life and a high economic burden. Atherosclerotic lesions can range from slight wall thickening with plaques that are angiographically occult to severely stenotic lesions. Recent advances in intracranial high resolution vessel wall MR (VW-MR) imaging have enabled imaging beyond the lumen to characterize the vessel wall and its pathology. This technique has opened new avenues of research for identifying vulnerable plaque in the setting of acute ischemic stroke as well as assessing ICAD burden and its associations with its sequela, such as dementia. We now understand more about the intracranial arterial wall, its ability to remodel with disease and how we can use VW-MR to identify angiographically occult lesions and assess medical treatment responses, for example, to statin therapy. Our growing understanding of ICAD with intracranial VW-MR imaging can profoundly impact diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis for ischemic stroke with the possibility of lesion-based risk models to tailor and personalize treatment. In this review, we discuss the advantages of intracranial VW-MR imaging for ICAD, the potential of bioimaging markers to identify vulnerable intracranial plaque, and future directions of artificial intelligence and its utility for lesion scoring and assessment.

Song Jae W, Wasserman Bruce A


Black blood MR imaging, intracranial atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, vessel wall MR imaging (VW-MR imaging)