Predictors of Rapid Plaque Progression: An Optical Coherence Tomography Study
Authors and Affiliations
This study sought to identify morphological predictors of rapid plaque progression.
Two patterns of plaque progression have been described: slow linear progression and rapid step-wise progression. The former pattern will cause stable angina when the narrowing reaches a critical threshold, whereas the latter pattern may lead to acute coronary syndromes or sudden cardiac death.
Patients who underwent optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging during the index procedure and follow-up angiography with a minimum interval of 6 months were selected. Nonculprit lesions with a diameter stenosis of ≥30% on index angiography were assessed. Lesion progression was defined as a decrease of angiographic minimum lumen diameter ≥0.4 mm at follow-up (mean, 7.1 months). Baseline morphological characteristics of plaques with rapid progression were evaluated by OCT. In a subgroup with follow-up OCT imaging for plaques with rapid progression, morphological changes from baseline to follow-up were assessed.
Among 517 lesions in 248 patients, 50 lesions showed rapid progression. These lesions had a significantly higher prevalence of lipid-rich plaque (76.0% vs. 50.5%, respectively), thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) (20.0% vs. 5.8%, respectively), layered plaque (60.0% vs. 34.0%, respectively), macrophage accumulation (62.0% vs. 42.4%, respectively), microvessel (46.0% vs. 29.1%, respectively), plaque rupture (12.0% vs. 4.7%, respectively), and thrombus (6.0% vs. 1.1%, respectively) at baseline compared with those without rapid progression. Multivariate analysis identified lipid-rich plaque (odds ratio [OR]: 2.17; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02 to 4.62; p = 0.045]), TCFA (OR: 5.85; 95% CI: 2.01 to 17.03; p = 0.001), and layered plaque (OR: 2.19; 95% CI: 1.03 to 4.17; p = 0.040) as predictors of subsequent rapid lesion progression. In a subgroup analysis for plaques with rapid progression, a new layer was detected in 25 of 41 plaques (61.0%) at follow-up.
Lipid-rich plaques, TCFA, and layered plaques were predictors of subsequent rapid plaque progression. A new layer, a signature of previous plaque disruption and healing, was detected in more than half of the lesions with rapid progression at follow-up. (Massachusetts General Hospital Optical Coherence Tomography Registry; NCT01110538)
Key Words : healed plaque; layered plaque; lipid-rich plaque; optical coherence tomography; TCFA