Difference of ruptured plaque morphology between asymptomatic coronary artery disease and non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome patients: an optical coherence tomography study

Kunihiro Shimamura, Yasushi Ino, Takashi Kubo, Tsuyoshi Nishiguchi, Takashi Tanimoto, Yuichi Ozaki, Keisuke Satogami, Makoto Orii, Yasutsugu Shiono, Kenichi Komukai, Takashi Yamano, Yoshiki Matsuo, Hironori Kitabata, Tomoyuki Yamaguchi, Kumiko Hirata, Atsushi Tanaka, Toshio Imanishi, Takashi Akasaka
Atherosclerosis 2014, 235 (2): 532-7

BACKGROUND: Autopsy studies have reported that rupture of a thin-cap fibroatheroma and subsequent thrombus formation is the major mechanism leading to acute coronary syndrome (ACS). However, it is not clear why only some plaque ruptures lead to ACS. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a high-resolution imaging modality which is capable of investigating detailed coronary plaque morphology in vivo. The objective of this study was to determine whether ruptured plaque morphology assessed by OCT differs between asymptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD) and non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTEACS).

METHODS: We examined ruptured plaque morphology using OCT in 80 patients, 33 with asymptomatic CAD and 47 with NSTEACS.

RESULTS: The frequency of lipid-rich plaque and intracoronary thrombus was significantly lower in asymptomatic CAD than in NSTEACS (61% vs. 85%, p = 0.013 and 9% vs. 83%, p < 0.001, respectively). Although maximal ruptured cavity cross-sectional area (CSA) was similar in both groups, lumen area at the rupture site and minimal lumen area were significantly larger in asymptomatic CAD than in NSTEACS (3.78 ± 1.50 mm(2) vs. 2.70 ± 1.55 mm(2), p = 0.003 and 2.75 ± 0.99 mm(2) vs. 1.72 ± 0.90 mm(2), p < 0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: OCT revealed that the morphology of ruptured plaques differs between asymptomatic CAD and NSTEACS in terms of lumen area and the frequency of lipid-rich plaques and thrombi. These morphological features may be associated with the clinical presentation of CAD.

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