Impact of chronic statin therapy on clinical presentation and underlying lesion morphology in patients undergoing percutaneous intervention: an ADAPT-DES IVUS substudy

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Previous intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) studies have not established a relationship between chronic statin use and plaque morphology and composition in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). We sought to use pre-PCI grayscale and virtual histology (VH)-IVUS to assess plaque morphology and composition in patients treated with chronic statin therapy compared with patients who were not taking statins before admission and PCI.


In a prespecified substudy of the Assessment of Dual AntiPlatelet Therapy with Drug-Eluting Stents study, pre-PCI grayscale and VH-IVUS were performed in 780 patients with 916 culprit and 765 nonculprit lesions.


Overall, 338 patients were treated with chronic statin therapy before admission. Statin-treated patients were older and had a higher prevalence of coronary risk factors. Statin-treated patients were more likely to present with stable angina, whereas non-statin-treated patients more frequently presented with acute myocardial infarction. Grayscale and VH-IVUS findings showed that lesions in statin-treated patients had a smaller plaque burden, but more dense calcium. Statin-treated patients had more calcified thick-cap fibroatheromas (9.2 vs. 3.7%, P=0.0007), but fewer VH-defined thin-cap fibroatheromas (45.2 vs. 56.1%, P=0.001) or plaque ruptures (26.6 vs. 38.4%, P=0.0001). In a propensity-matched population (n=249 in each group), similar results were obtained as regards clinical presentation and grayscale and VH-IVUS findings.


Chronic statin use in patients with coronary artery disease was associated with more stable clinical presentation and IVUS findings consistent with greater lesion stability (fewer VH-thin-cap fibroatheromas and plaque ruptures and more calcified thick-cap fibroatheromas).

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