Prevalence and characteristics of TCFA and degree of coronary artery stenosis: an OCT, IVUS, and angiographic study

Jinwei Tian, Harold Dauerman, Catalin Toma, Habib Samady, Tomonori Itoh, Shoichi Kuramitsu, Takenori Domei, Haibo Jia, Rocco Vergallo, Tsunenari Soeda, Sining Hu, Yoshiyasu Minami, Hang Lee, Bo Yu, Ik-Kyung Jang
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2014 August 19, 64 (7): 672-80

BACKGROUND: The relationship between features of vulnerable plaque and angiographic coronary stenosis is unknown.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate the absolute number, relative prevalence, and characteristics of thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) at different degrees of stenosis using optical coherence tomography (OCT), intravascular ultrasound, and coronary angiography.

METHODS: We identified 643 plaques from 255 subjects who underwent OCT imaging in all 3 coronary arteries. They were divided into 3 groups on the basis of angiographic diameter stenosis: Group A (30% to 49%, n = 325), Group B (50% to 69%, n = 227), and Group C (>70%, n = 91).

RESULTS: OCT showed that the absolute number of TCFA was greatest in Group A (n = 58), followed by Groups B (n = 40) and C (n = 33). However, the relative prevalence of TCFA was higher in Group C (36%) than in Groups A (18%) or B (18%) (p = 0.003 and p = 0.002, respectively). Fibrous cap of TCFA was thinner in Group C than in Groups A (p < 0.001) or B (p = 0.001). intravascular ultrasound showed that the plaque burden of TCFA was largest in Group C (80.1 ± 7.4%), compared with Groups B (67.5 ± 9.4%) and A (58.1 ± 8.4%). TCFA in Group C had a higher remodeling index than those in Group A (p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: The absolute number of TCFA is 3 times greater in nonsevere stenosis than in severe stenosis. It is, however, twice as likely for a lesion to be TCFA in cases of severe stenosis than in nonsevere stenosis. Moreover, TCFA in severely-stenotic areas had more features of plaque vulnerability.

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