Segmental coronary endothelial dysfunction in patients with minimal atherosclerosis is associated with necrotic core plaques

  • Lavi S
  • Bae J
  • Rihal C
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE Endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis are systemic disorders, but are often characterised by segmental involvement and complications. A potential mechanism for local involvement early in the disease process may be related to plaque composition. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that in patients with minimal coronary atherosclerosis, coronary artery segments with abnormal endothelial function have specific plaque characteristics. METHODS Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) images were obtained from 30 patients who underwent coronary endothelial function assessment. Spectral analysis of the IVUS radiofrequency data was used for assessment of plaque composition. IVUS findings of the coronary sections were compared according to the corresponding endothelial response to acetylcholine. RESULTS Sections with a decrease epicardial coronary arterial diameter in response to acetylcholine had smaller baseline lumen (7.5 (2.4) mm(2) vs 8.8 (3.3) mm(2), p = 0.006) but larger plaque burden (37.1% (9.4%) vs 31% (7%), p = 0.003) than sections with normal endothelial response. Sections with endothelial dysfunction had larger necrotic core plaques: 0.13 (0.03-0.33) mm(2) vs 0.0 (0.0-0.07), p

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