Head to head comparison of optical coherence tomography, intravascular ultrasound echogenicity and virtual histology for the detection of changes in polymeric struts over time: insights from the ABSORB trial

Salvatore Brugaletta, Josep Gomez-Lara, Nico Bruining, Maria D Radu, Robert-Jan van Geuns, Leif Thuesen, Dougal McClean, Jacques Koolen, Stephan Windecker, Robert Whitbourn, James Oberhauser, Richard Rapoza, John A Ormiston, Hector M Garcia-Garcia, Patrick W Serruys
EuroIntervention 2012 July 20, 8 (3): 352-8

AIMS: To analyse and to compare the changes in the various optical coherence tomography (OCT), echogenicity and intravascular ultrasound virtual histology (VH) of the everolimus-eluting bioresorbable scaffold (ABSORB) degradation parameters during the first 12 months after ABSORB implantation. In the ABSORB study, changes in the appearance of the ABSORB scaffold were monitored over time using various intracoronary imaging modalities. The scaffold struts exhibited a progressive change in their black core area by OCT, in their ultrasound derived grey level intensity quantified by echogenicity, and in their backscattering ultrasound signal, identified as "pseudo dense-calcium" (DC) by VH.

METHODS AND RESULTS: From the ABSORB Cohort B trial 35 patients had paired OCT, echogenicity and VH assessment at baseline and at six- (n=18) or 12-months follow-up (n=17). Changes in OCT strut core area, hyperechogenicity and VH-derived DC were analysed and compared at the various time points. At six months, the change (median[IQR]) in OCT strut core area was -7.2% (-14.0-+0.9) (p=0.053), in hyperechogenicity -12.7% (-33.7-+1.4) (p=0.048) and VH-DC 22.1% (-10.8-+48.8) (p=0.102). At 12 months, all the imaging modalities showed a decrease in the various parameters considered (OCT: -12.2% [-17.5--1.9], p=0.093; hyperechogenicity -24.64% [-36.6--16.5], p=0.001; VH-DC: -24.66% [-32.0--7.0], p=0.071). However, the correlation between the relative changes in these parameters was statistically poor (Spearman's rho <0.4).

CONCLUSIONS: OCT, echogenicity and VH were able to detect changes in the ABSORB scaffold struts, although the correlation between those changes was poor. This is likely due to the fact that each imaging modality interrogates different material properties on different length scales. Further studies are needed to explore these hypotheses.

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