There is no consensus regarding the best treatment to prevent stroke in patients with carotid atherosclerosis and imaging techniques to identify rupture prone carotid plaques and thus predict stroke risk are still under development.
My research concerns high-grade carotid stenosis from different aspects: imaging techniques, secondary prevention and cardiovascular risk management as well as the study of biomarkers and inflammatory response in the atherosclerotic process.
Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique is a novel imaging method, developed by the research group that I am a part of. The technique enables the quantification of the extent of the lipid rich necrotic core and intraplaque hemorrhage in carotid plaques and the extent of white matter lesions in the brain. Changes in plaque structures can thereby be observed over time and correlated to risk factor burden, biomarkers, microparticles and other factors of interest, to provide additional understanding of vascular disease.
Cardiovascular risk factor management
Another field of development is the cardiovascular risk factor management for patients with high-grade carotid stenosis. They rank in the highest risk category for future atherosclerotic cardiovascular events, i.e. they are in the ‘very high risk’ category according to current European guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention. This mandates intensive preventive care, regardless if the patient also is treated surgically with carotid endarterectomy (CEA) or not. Current preventive regimes are insufficient and there is room for improvement, as stated in one study by the Linköping carotid research team.f