Vulnerable plaque Thin cap fibroatheroma Necrotic core
Sanchez-Elvira G, Coma-Canella I, Artaiz M, Paramo JA, Barba J, Calabuig J. Characterization of coronary plaques with combined use of intravascular ultrasound, virtual histology and optical coherence tomography. Heart Int 2010 Dec 31;5(2):e12.
According to post-mortem studies, luminal thrombosis occurs from plaque rupture, erosion and calcified nodules. In vivo studies have found thin cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) as the main vulnerable lesion, prone to rupture. Few data about other post-mortem lesions have been reported in vivo. Our main objective is to characterize in vivo the coronary plaques with intravascular ultrasound-virtual histology (IVUS-VH) and optical coherence tomography (OCT), in order to detect not only thin cap fibroatheroma (TCFA), but also other possible vulnerable lesions. The secondary objective is to correlate these findings with clinical and analytical data. Twenty-five patients (18 stable) submitted to coronary angiography were included in this pilot study. After angiography, the three vessels were studied (when possible) with IVUS-VH and OCT. Plaque characteristics were correlated with clinical and analytical data. Forty-six lesions were analyzed. IVUS-VH detected significant necrotic core in 15 (3 were definite TCFA). OCT detected TCFA in 10 lesions, erosion in 6, thrombus in 5 and calcified nodule in 8. Possible vulnerable lesion was found in 61% of stable and 57% of unstable patients. Erosions and calcified nodules were only found in stable patients. Those with significant necrotic core had higher body mass index (P=0.016), higher levels of hs-CRP (P=0.019) and triglycerides (P=0.040). The higher the levels of hs-CRP, the larger the size of the necrotic core (r=0.69, P=0.003). Lesions with characteristics of vulnerability were detected by IVUS-VH and OCT in more than 50% of stable and unstable coronary patients. A significant necrotic core was mainly correlated with higher hs-CRP.