Utility of near-infrared spectroscopy for detection of thin-cap neoatherosclerosis

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Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been employed to assess the composition of the atherosclerotic plaques in native coronary arteries. However, little is known about the detection of neoatherosclerosis by NIRS in in-stent restenosis (ISR). The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between the distribution of lipid determined by NIRS and morphology of ISR on optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Methods and results

We performed both NIRS and OCT in 39 drug-eluting stents with ISR. Values of lipid-core burden index (LCBI) derived by NIRS were compared with the OCT-derived thickness of the fibrous cap covering neoatherosclerotic lesions. A total of 22 (49%) in-stent neointimas were identified as lipid rich by both NIRS and OCT. There was good agreement between OCT and NIRS in identifying lipid within in-stent neointima (kappa = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.34–0.86). OCT identified thin-cap neoatheromas (TCNA) (<65 µm) in 12 stents (23%). The minimal cap thickness of in-stent neoatherosclerotic plaque measured by OCT correlated with the maxLCBI4mm (maximal LCBI per 4 mm) within the stent (r = −0.77, P< 0.01). Moreover, maxLCBI4mm was able to accurately predict TCNA with a cut-off value of >144.


NIRS correlates with OCT identification of lipids in stented vessels and is able to predict the presence of thin fibrous cap neoatheroma.

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