Inflammation is a critical factor in early atherosclerosis and its progression to myocardial infarction. The search for valid surrogate markers of arterial vascular inflammation led to the increasing use of positron emission tomography/computed tomography. Indeed, vascular inflammation is associated with future risk for myocardial infarction and can be modulated with short-term therapies, such as statins, that mitigate cardiovascular risk. However, to better understand vascular inflammation and its mechanisms, a panel was recently convened of world experts in immunology, human translational research, and positron emission tomographic vascular imaging. This contemporary review first strives to understand the diverse roles of immune cells implicated in atherogenesis. Next, the authors describe human chronic inflammatory disease models that can help elucidate the pathophysiology of vascular inflammation. Finally, the authors review positron emission tomography-based imaging techniques to characterize the vessel wall in vivo.