About Ahmed Tawakol, MD

Dr Tawakol graduated from Stanford Medical School and did his Medical Residency and Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He subsequently completed training in Nuclear Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, after which he joined the Cardiology Division staff. His clinical focus is in nuclear cardiology and general cardiology, with a special focus on the identification of patients at highest risk for atherothrombotic event.

Dr Tawakol's research interest is in imaging of atherosclerosis. His work has focused on developing novel diagnostic approaches and novel treatment strategies for atherosclerosis. To that end, Dr Tawakol has developed and validated molecular methods to characterize atherosclerotic plaques, and has made seminal observations validating the use of FDG-PET imaging for the measurement of atherosclerotic plaque inflammation. Currently, he is leading several multi-center trials to evaluate interventions targeting plaque inflammation and is evaluating the potential clinical role of vascular PET imaging for improving the identification of patients at highest risk for atherothrombotic events.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Mass General Heart Center
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 866-644-8910

Medical Education

  • MD, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine

Accepted Insurance Plans

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Multi-modality Imaging of Atherosclerotic Plaques

The majority of myocardial infarctions and sudden cardiac death result from the rupture of plaques which, in most cases, did not cause significant flow limitation prior to the acute event. While stenosis severity (measured with techniques such as angiography and stress testing), is the gold standard for characterization of atherosclerotic disease, it has proven a poor predictor of therapeutic efficacy and a coarse predictor of risk. Novel methods for the characterization of plaques are needed. Accordingly, the focus of Dr Tawako?s laboratory is to develop, validate, and apply novel imaging methods to non-invasively characterize atherosclerotic plaques, with a focus on plaque inflammation.

To that end, Dr Tawakol's group has developed and validated methods using positron emission tomography that enables the non-invasive measurement of plaque inflammation in patients. Currently, Dr Tawakol leads several multi-center trials that are evaluating the efficacy of novel drugs for reducing plaque inflammation.


  • Select Publications:

    • Tawakol A, Omland T, Gerhard M, Wu JT, Creager MA, Hyperhomocyst(e)inemia is associated with impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans.  Circulation 1997; 95:1119-1121
    • Tawakol A, Migrino RQ, Bashian G, Vermylen D, Cury RC, Yates D, Furie K, Bedri S, Houser S, LaMuraglia G, Gewirtz H , Muller JE, Brady TJ, and Fischman AJ . In vivo FDG-PET Imaging Provides a Non-invasive Measure of Carotid Plaque Inflammation in Patients. JACC 2006;48(9):1818-24
    • Rogers IS, Nasir K, Figueroa AL, Cury RC, Hoffmann U, Vermylen DA, Brady TJ, and Tawakol A. Feasibility of FDG imaging of the coronary arteries: comparison between acute coronary syndrome and stable angina. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Apr;3(4):388-97.
    • Fifer K, Qadir S. Subramanian S, Vijayakumar J,  Figueroa AL, Truong Q, Hoffman U, Brady TJ and  Tawakol A. Positron Emission Tomography Measurement of Periodontal 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Uptake Is Associated With Histologically Determined Carotid Plaque Inflammation. JACC 2011;57 971-976
    • Marincheva-Savcheva G , Subramanian S, Qadir  S, Figueroa A , Truong Q , Vijayakumar J, Brady TJ, Hoffmann U, Tawakol A. Imaging of the Aortic Valve using 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography: Increased Valvular FDG Uptake in Aortic Stenosis. JACC 2011 in press

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