Anja Gwendolyn van der Kolk1, Gert Jan de Borst2, Anne G. den Hartog2, M Eline Kooi3, Willem PThM Mali1, Jeroen Hendrikse1
1Department of Radiology, University Medical Center, Utrecht, Netherlands; 2Department of Vascular Surgery, University Medical Center, Utrecht, Netherlands; 3Department of Radiology, University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands
The carotid MR hyperintense (vulnerable) plaque is associated with a higher morbidity and mortality. We investigated the prevalence of this plaque and its clinical correlates on T1-weighted turbo-field echo (T1w-TFE) MRI in patients with ischemic symptoms and varying degrees of stenosis. 153 patients with TIA or ischemic infarct were retrospectively examined. 18% showed one or more hyperintense plaques. Half of all hyperintense plaques occurred in symptomatic patients with either 0-69% stenosis or occlusion; more than ⅓ of patients with 50-69% stenosis presented with this plaque. This subgroup of patients could in future possibly benefit from aggressive medicinal therapy or revascularization.