Intravascular Imaging of Coronary Calcification and Its Clinical Implications

Calcium impacts the natural history and treatment of coronary artery disease in many ways. Intravascular imaging studies, mostly intravascular ultrasound, but more recently studies using optical coherence tomography, have been instrumental in increasing our understanding of the relationship between calcium and coronary atherosclerosis, the predictors, the natural history of this relationship, and the impact on treatment. On one hand, stable coronary lesions are associated with more calcium than unstable lesions; and the amount of calcium may affect the success of percutaneous coronary intervention. On the other hand, calcium correlates with plaque burden; unstable lesions are associated with focal calcium deposits; and calcific nodules are one of the morphologies of vulnerable plaque. This review focuses on more than 20 years of intravascular imaging studies of the relationship between calcium and coronary atherosclerosis. 


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