Aims: To investigate tissue characteristics of atherosclerotic plaques in coronary artery bifurcations. Methods and results: Using a global virtual histology registry, geometric and compositional characteristics of plaque in three segments (proximal, distal, and at the bifurcation) of coronary bifurcation sites were analysed with intravascular ultrasound radiofrequency data (RFD) analysis. A total of 256 bifurcation sites were analysed: left main (LM)-left anterior descending artery (LAD), 41; LAD-diagonal artery, 128; left circumflex artery-obtuse marginal artery, 34; and right coronary artery-acute marginal artery, 53. The plaque+media (P+M) burden was larger in the distal segments of LM-LAD bifurcation sites than in the proximal and at the bifurcation segments (46.55±12.08% vs. 40.40±11.76%, 41.15±11.01%, p<0.001). The % necrotic core (NC) and % dense calcium (DC) at the bifurcation and distal segments of LM-LAD bifurcation sites was significantly greater than in the proximal segments (6.75±5.09%, 7.36±6.01% vs. 4.89±4.78%, p<0.05, and 3.31±2.87%, 3.73±3.28% vs. 1.89±2.10%, p<0.001). In contrast, P+M burden, % NC and % DC in the proximal segments of non-LM bifurcation sites was significantly greater than at the bifurcation and distal segments (49.41±12.12% vs. 45.34±11.21%, 46.80±10.68% / 8.08±6.21% vs. 6.47±5.11%, 6.28±5.05% / 4.57±4.67% vs. 3.38±3.44%, 3.55±3.74%, all p<0.001). Conclusions: The results demonstrate that heterogeneous nature of coronary atherosclerosis at coronary bifurcations according to their segments and anatomical locations (LM-LAD vs. non-LM bifurcations). The further investigation for the clinical efficacy of the RFD analysis on bifurcation sites are warranted.
- Intracoronary ultrasound
- Virtual histology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine