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Regression of Coronary Fatty Plaque and Risk of Cardiac Events According to Blood Pressure Status: Data From a Randomized Trial of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease.

Background Residual risk of cardiovascular events and plaque progression remains despite reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Factors contributing to residual risk remain unclear. The authors examined the role of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in coronary plaque regression and its predictors. Methods and Results A total of 240 patients with stable coronary artery disease were randomized to eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid (3.36 g/d) or none for 30 months. Patients were stratified by regression or progression of coronary fatty plaque measured by coronary computed tomographic angiography. Cardiac events were ascertained. The mean±SD age was 63.0±7.7 years, mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was <2.07 mmol/L, and median triglyceride level was <1.38 mmol/L. Regressors had a 14.9% reduction in triglycerides that correlated with fatty plaque regression ( r =0.135; P =0.036). Compared with regressors, progressors had higher cardiac events (5% vs 22.3%, respectively; P <0.001) and a 2.89-fold increased risk of cardiac events (95% CI, 1.1-8.0; P =0.034). Baseline non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level <2.59 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) and systolic blood pressure <125 mm Hg were significant independent predictors of fatty plaque regression. Normotensive patients taking eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid had regression of noncalcified coronary plaque that correlated with triglyceride reduction ( r =0.35; P =0.034) and a significant decrease in neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio. In contrast, hypertensive patients had no change in noncalcified coronary plaque or neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio. Conclusions Triglyceride reduction, systolic blood pressure <125 mm Hg, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol <2.59 mmol/L were associated with coronary plaque regression and reduced cardiac events. Normotensive patients had greater benefit than hypertensive patients potentially due to lower levels of inflammation. Future studies should examine the role of inflammation in plaque regression. Registration URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT01624727.

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