Coronary artery disease is the major cause of death in the western world. The formation and rapid progression of atheromatous plaques can lead to serious cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerosis. The better understanding, in recent years, of the mechanisms leading to atheromatous plaque growth and disruption and the availability of powerful HMG CoA-reductase inhibitors (statins) has permitted the consideration of plaque regression as a realistic therapeutic goal. This article reviews the existing evidence underpinning current therapeutic strategies aimed at achieving atherosclerotic plaque regression. In this review we also discuss imaging modalities for the assessment of plaque regression, predictors of regression and whether plaque regression is associated with a survival benefit.
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