BACKGROUND. The non-uniform extent and distribution of atherosclerotic plaque at bifurcations have been described by necropsy studies and they are related to local blood-flow disturbances. Systematic evaluation of plaque extent and distribution upstream and downstream of major coronary side- branches has not yet been evaluated in vivo. METHODS. We used intravascular ultrasound imaging in 41 patients with atherosclerotic disease to study the region of 73 major coronary side-branches at 2 mm increments proximal and distal to the side-branch (657 images: 73 at origin of side-branch; 292 proximal; 292 distal). The maximum (MXT) and minimum (MINT) plaque thickness and the plaque burden percentage (% PB) were measured in all the segments. The angle of distribution of maximum plaque thickness with respect to the origin of the side-branch was determined in each cross-section and assigned to S1 when located on the semicircle in the direction of the origin of the side-branch and to S2 when located on the opposite wall. RESULTS. The mean value of maximum plaque thickness and the plaque burden percentage were similar at the origin and in the two adjacent segments proximal and distal to the side-branch (1.0 ± 0.48 mm, 1.06 ± 0.48 mm and 0.98 ± 0.48 mm; 45 ± 19%, 46 ± 19% and 44 ± 18%). In distal sites of analysis, the plaque was more frequently eccentric in comparison to proximal sites (presence of an arc of plaque-free wall: 79% versus 62% in very distal and in very proximal sites respectively; p < 0.05). The prevalence of maximum plaque in S2 was higher at the origin (84%) and in adjacent distal segments (86%) as compared with the adjacent proximal segments (60%; p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS. The distribution of plaque is influenced by the origin of a major coronary side-branch in patients with coronary atherosclerosis: in distal sites the location of maximum plaque is almost always eccentrically distributed on the wall opposite the take-off.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 1998|
- Coronary vessels
- Intracoronary ultrasound