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Table 1 Methodological characteristic-based comparison among the existing imaging modalities [68,69,70,71]

From: Imaging modalities to diagnose carotid artery stenosis: progress and prospect

Diagnostic test Methodology Advantage Limitations/drawbacks
Computed tomography angiography (CTA) Use of high-dose X-rays to get a detailed picture of the vascular system and its functioning
Patients may also have a dye injected to make it easier to spot blockages
The exam is quick
3D results
Able to identify a wide variety of abnormalities
Risk associated with radiation exposure and contrast use (e.g. allergic reaction, contrast-induced nephropathy)
Incidental findings may lead to unnecessary further tests
Presence of vessel calcification leads to an inaccurate stenosis estimation
Large area is needed to house the equipment
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) Make use of large magnets and radio waves to take pictures of internal organs like heart and arteries Does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation Not safe for patients with implants that are not MRI-conditional
Time consuming
Not suitable for patient with claustrophobia
Not widely available
Contrast associated adverse reaction (e.g. nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in patients with kidney impairment)
Duplex ultrasound (DUS) To check the blood flow to the brain for a probable plaque formation in the carotid artery Reasonable tool in picking up carotid atherosclerosis Require trained personnel to perform and interpret
Reflect the presence of systemic atherosclerosis