AimsThe pathogenesis of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) remains complex and may involve multiple mechanisms. We tested the hypothesis that the multilayer (ML) appearance, an intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) finding suggestive of repetitive thrombosis, is associated with plaque progression in heart transplant (HTx) recipients.Methods and resultsOur study population consisted of 132 HTx recipients undergoing at least two grayscale and virtual histology (VH)-IVUS examinations. A retrospective serial analysis was performed between the first (baseline) and the last (follow-up) IVUS data during a median follow-up of 3.0 years. The subjects were divided into two groups based on the presence of the ML appearance on the baseline IVUS. At baseline, subjects with ML appearance (n = 38) had a longer time elapsed since transplant, larger vessel volume, and larger plaque volume than those without (n = 94) (all P < 0.01). Intraluminal thrombi and plaque ruptures were identified only in subjects with ML appearance (P < 0.01 vs. those without). More subjects with ML appearance at baseline developed subsequent ML formation compared with those without [21 (55%) vs. 22 (23%), P < 0.01] during follow-up. There was an increase in plaque volume, necrotic core volume, and dense calcium volume in subjects with ML appearance (all P < 0.01 vs. those without). Multivariable linear regression analysis showed that ML appearance was a potential predictor of plaque progression (regression coefficient 0.28, 95% CI 0.10-0.45, P < 0.01).ConclusionsThe current study demonstrates that a finding of ML appearance, indicative of repeated episodes of mural thrombosis, is not infrequent in asymptomatic HTx recipients and possibly contributes to progression of CAV. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.
- Cardiac allograft vasculopathy
- Intravascular ultrasound
- Plaque progression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine