Invasive coronary imaging: any role in primary and secondary prevention?

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This review discusses the possibilities offered by new modalities of non-invasive and invasive coronary imaging in an effort to optimize risk stratification for coronary artery disease, and identify subgroups at high risk that may benefit from an aggressive, personalized approach, with access to a growing number of novel drugs and interventions. Special emphasis is placed on the progress of novel invasive imaging techniques such as near infrared spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography that can reliably identify thin-capped fibroatheromas. Multiple trials are exploring the feasibility of these techniques to guide modulation of risk factor control and treatment of non-flow limiting lesions at high risk of destabilization and progression in patients undergoing clinically mandated angioplasty of angiographically critical lesions. Asymptomatic patients at high risk of cardiovascular ischaemic events may also benefit, with the intermediate step of a wider application of calcium score and angiography with multi-slice computed tomography, by a selective use of invasive imaging.

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