Objectives. Age-related changes in histologic composition and neovascular channel (NC) pattern of angiographic chronic total coronary artery occlusions (CTOs) were studied to define histologic correlates of age-related revascularization profiles and neovascular channel formation. Background. Revascularization of CTOs is frequently characterized by inability to cross or dilate the lesion and a high incidence of reocclusion or restenosis but low periprocedural ischemic complication rates. Little is known about the histopathologic basis of these observations. Methods. Ninety-six angiographic CTOs from autopsy studies in 61 patients who had undergone coronary angiography within 3 months of death were studied. Abrupt plaque rupture was excluded. Occlusion segments were analyzed for 1) histologic composition as a function of lesion age; and 2) NC pattern as a function of lesion age and intimal plaque (IP) composition. Results. Cholesterol and foam cell-laden IP was more frequent in younger lesions (p = 0.0007), whereas fibrocalcific IP increased with CTO age (p = 0.008). IP NCs arose directly from adventitial vasa vasorum and were anatomically and quantitatively related in terms of number and size (p = 0.0001) to the extent of IP cellular inflammation. IP cellular inflammation exceeded that found in the adventitia (p < 0.001) or media (p = 0.0001) across all CTO ages. In CTOs < 1 year old, the adventitia was associated with a larger number and size of NCs relative to the IP (p = 0.0006 and p = 0.009), media (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.002) and recanalized lumen (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.001). In CTOs > 1 year old, the adventitia and IP NC numbers were similar and exceeded NC numbers found in the media (p = 0.0001) and recanalized lumen (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.003). Conclusions. Angiographic CTO frequently corresponds to less than complete occlusion by histologic criteria. Age-related changes in IP composition from cholesterol laden to fibrocalcific may explain the adverse revascularization profile of older CTOs. IP NC growth derived from the adventitia increases with age and is strongly associated with IP cellular inflammation. IP NC formation may protect against the flow-limiting effects of IP growth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine