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Association of endothelial function with thin-cap fibroatheroma as assessed by optical coherence tomography in patients with acute coronary syndromes

Authors Matsuzawa Y, Hibi K, Saka K, Konishi M, Akiyama E, Nakayama N, Ebina T, Kosuge M, Iwahashi N, Maejima N, Tamura K, Kimura K

Received 18 August 2018

Accepted for publication 18 January 2019

Published 15 February 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 285—291

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S184457

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh


Yasushi Matsuzawa,1 Kiyoshi Hibi,1 Kenichiro Saka,1 Masaaki Konishi,1 Eiichi Akiyama,1 Naoki Nakayama,1 Toshiaki Ebina,1 Masami Kosuge,1 Noriaki Iwahashi,1 Nobuhiko Maejima,1 Kouichi Tamura,2 Kazuo Kimura1

1Division of Cardiology, Yokohama City University Medical Center, Yokohama, Japan; 2Department of Medical Science and Cardiorenal Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

Background: Thinning of the fibrous cap of atherosclerotic plaque is a major component of plaque vulnerability. The high resolution of optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides an accurate measurement of fibrous-cap thickness. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with inflammation and enhanced local expression of matrix metalloproteinases. We investigated the association between endothelial dysfunction and OCT-derived thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).
Methods: Seventy-four patients with ACS, who underwent both OCT examinations of the culprit lesion before percutaneous coronary intervention and peripheral endothelial function assessment as assessed by logarithmic value of reactive hyperemia index (Ln_RHI), were enrolled. Age-, sex-, hypertension-, and diabetes-matched non-coronary artery disease (non-CAD) patients were also enrolled (n=15).
Results: Ln_RHI levels were significantly lower in ACS patients compared with non-CAD patients (0.56±0.26 vs 0.74±0.22, P=0.01). Furthermore, the Ln_RHIs of ACS patients with TCFA (n=44) were significantly lower than those of ACS patients without TCFA (n=30) (0.50±0.24 vs 0.65±0.26, P=0.01). There was a weak but significant positive correlation between Ln_RHI and fibrous-cap thickness (Spearman’s ρ=0.25, P=0.03). Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified lower Ln_RHI as an independent factor associated with TCFA in ACS patients (OR per 0.1 increase in Ln_RHI: 0.78 [95% CI: 0.62–0.98], P=0.03).
Conclusion: Advanced endothelial dysfunction significantly correlates with a thin fibrous cap of coronary plaques in patients with ACS.

Keywords: peripheral endothelial function, optical coherence tomography, thin-cap fibroatheroma, plaque vulnerability

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