Quantification of Coronary Atherosclerosis in the Assessment of Coronary Artery Disease


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Abstract

Background:Diagnosis of coronary artery disease and management strategies have relied solely on the presence of diameter stenosis ≥50%. We assessed whether direct quantification of plaque burden (PB) and plaque characteristics assessed by coronary computed tomography angiography could provide additional value in terms of predicting rapid plaque progression.Methods and Results:From a 13-center, 7-country prospective observational registry, 1345 patients (60.4±9.4 years old; 57.1% male) who underwent repeated coronary computed tomography angiography >2 years apart were enrolled. For conventional angiographic analysis, the presence of stenosis ≥50%, number of vessel involved, segment involvement score, and the presence of high-risk plaque feature were determined. For quantitative analyses, PB and annual change in PB (△PB/y) in the entire coronary tree were assessed. Clinical outcomes (cardiac death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and coronary revascularization) were recorded. Rapid progressors, defined as a patient with ≥median value of △PB/y (0.33%/y), were older, more frequently male, and had more clinical risk factors than nonrapid progressors (all P<0.05). After risk adjustment, addition of baseline PB improved prediction of rapid progression to each angiographic assessment of coronary artery disease, and the presence of high-risk plaque further improved the predictive performance (all P<0.001). For prediction of adverse outcomes, adding both baseline PB and △PB/y showed best predictive performance (C statistics, 0.763; P<0.001).Conclusions:Direct quantification of atherosclerotic PB in addition to conventional angiographic assessment of coronary artery disease might be beneficial for improving risk stratification of coronary artery disease.Clinical Trial Registration:URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02803411.

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