Is atherosclerosis imaging the most sensitive way to assess patients' risk and the best way to conduct future drug trials? A pros-and-cons debate


      • Atherosclerosis imaging has been supported and opposed as a method to improve screening.
      • Imaging has been extensively used for atherosclerosis regression studies.
      • Should future clinical drug trials be based on imaging?


      Atherosclerosis imaging has been the focus of intense debate and research for several decades. Among its primary applications are risk stratification of asymptomatic individuals and follow-up of atherosclerosis progression under a variety of treatments designed to retard or regress the development of arterial disease. Although endorsed and supported by many, this approach has been fiercely opposed by several key opinion leaders over the years. Similarly, regulatory agencies have raised a number of objections to resist the approval of new drugs and devices based on surrogate imaging markers. However, there is a large body of evidence in the medical literature that shows that risk stratification is improved with implementation of atherosclerosis imaging. Additionally, numerous lipid-modifying agents have been tested as far as their ability to affect progression of atherosclerosis, and in many cases the information obtained with imaging was in line with the outcome of subsequent clinical trials. This pros-and-cons debate was staged to bring up in a fun and provoking way the main arguments in favour or against the application of atherosclerosis imaging in the main settings described above.


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