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April 2, 1982

Pinpointing the progress of atherosclerosis

JAMA. 1982;247(13):1804-1806. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320380010006

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Within five years, there may be tools to measure atherosclerotic lesions quantitatively with such accuracy that their progression, regression, or stability can be ascertained with certainty.

This is the prediction of William Insull, MD, director of the Lipid Research Clinic at Baylor College's Methodist Hospital in Waco, Tex, and an organizer of a recent workshop on quantitative evaluation of atherosclerosis held in Silver Spring, Md.

Currently, short of pathological specimen examination, no method can quantitate atherosclerosis very well. For example, while intra-arterial angiography is the common method of diagnosing atherosclerosis in symptomatic patients, its limitations are considerable.

"From angiograms we may obtain information on absolute luminal dimensions and irregularities, but little information concerning the bulk, consistency, or three-dimensional configurations of lesions," Christopher Zarins, MD, of the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, told workshop attendees. "Except for relatively large calcifications, little can be learned about lesion composition, and even