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Coronary artery compliance and adaptive vessel remodelling in patients with stable and unstable coronary artery disease
  1. A Jeremias,
  2. C Spies,
  3. N A Herity,
  4. E Pomerantsev,
  5. P G Yock,
  6. P J Fitzgerald,
  7. A C Yeung
  1. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Dr A Jeremias, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Mailbox 569, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA email:allen_jeremias{at}


OBJECTIVE To test the hypothesis that patients with unstable coronary syndromes show accentuated compensatory vessel enlargement compared with patients with stable angina, and that this may in part be related to increased coronary artery distensibility.

DESIGN AND PATIENTS In 23 patients with unstable coronary syndromes (10 with non-Q wave myocardial infarction and 13 with unstable angina), the culprit lesion was investigated by intravascular ultrasound before intervention. The vessel cross sectional area (VA), lumen area (LA), and plaque area (VA minus LA) were measured at end diastole and end systole at the lesion site and at the proximal and distal reference segments. Similar measurements were made in 23 patients with stable angina admitted during the same period and matched for age, sex, and target vessel. Calculations were made of remodelling index (VA at lesion site ÷ VA at reference site), distensibility index ([(ΔA/A)/ΔP] × 103, where ΔA is the luminal area change in systole and diastole and ΔP the difference in systolic and diastolic blood pressure measured at the tip of the guiding catheter during a cardiac cycle), and stiffness index β ([ln(Psys/Pdias)]/(ΔD/D), where Psys is systolic pressure, Pdias is diastolic pressure, and ΔD is the difference between systolic and diastolic lumen diameters). Positive remodelling was defined as when the VA at the lesion was > 1.05 times larger than at the proximal reference site, and negative remodelling when the VA at the lesion was < 0.95 of the reference site.

RESULTS Mean (SD) LA at the lesion site was similar in both groups (4.03 (1.8) v4.01 (1.93) mm2), while plaque area was larger in the unstable group (13.29 (4.04) v 8.34 (3.6) mm2, p < 0.001). Remodelling index was greater in the unstable group (1.14 (0.18) v 0.83 (0.15), p < 0.001). Positive remodelling was observed in 15 patients in the unstable group (65%) but in only two (9%) in the stable group (p < 0.001). Negative remodelling occurred only in two patients with unstable symptoms (9%) but in 17 (74%) with stable symptoms. At the proximal reference segment, the difference in LA between systole and diastole was 0.99 (0.66) mm2 in the unstable group and 0.39 (0.3) mm2 in the stable group (p < 0.001), and the calculated coronary artery distensibility was 3.09 (2.69) and 0.94 (0.83) per mm Hg in unstable and stable patients, respectively (p < 0.001). The stiffness index β was lower in patients with unstable angina (1.95 (0.94) v 3.1 (0.96), p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Compensatory vessel enlargement occurs to a greater degree in patients with unstable than with stable coronary syndromes, and is associated with increased coronary artery distensibility.

  • coronary artery disease
  • remodelling
  • compliance
  • angina pectoris

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