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Size of emptied plaque cavity following spontaneous rupture is related to coronary dimensions, not to the degree of lumen narrowing. A study with intravascular ultrasound in vivo
  1. C von Birgelena,
  2. W Klinkharta,
  3. G S Mintzb,
  4. H Wienekea,
  5. D Baumgarta,
  6. M Haudea,
  7. T Bartela,
  8. S Sacka,
  9. J Gea,
  10. R Erbela
  1. aDepartment of Cardiology, University Hospital Essen, Hufelandstr 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany, bWashington Hospital Center, Washington DC, USA
  1. Dr von Birgelen.von.birgelen{at}


OBJECTIVE To identify any potential relations between the size of an emptied plaque cavity and the remodelling pattern, plaque or vessel dimensions, lumen narrowing, and other ultrasonic lesion characteristics.

DESIGN Intravascular ultrasound was used to examine prospectively 51 ruptured ulcerated coronary plaques. Cross sectional area measurements comprised lumen, vessel, plaque, and emptied plaque cavity. Lumen narrowing was calculated as 1 − (lesion lumen area/reference lumen area) × 100%. A remodelling index was calculated as lesion vessel area/reference vessel area, and plaques were divided into those with values > 1.05 (group A) and ⩽ 1.05 (group B).

RESULTS Of the total of 51 plaques, 36 (71%) were assigned to group A and 15 (29%) to group B. In neither group was there a significant difference in reference dimensions and lumen narrowing. However, lesion vessel (mean (SD): 22.6 (8.1) mm2 v 17.5 (4.3) mm2; p = 0.006) and plaque areas (15.8 (6.2) mm2 v 12.8 (3.2) mm2; p = 0.03) were greater in group A than in group B. The cavity inside the plaque was larger in group A than in group B (2.8 (1.6) mm2 v 1.8 (0.9) mm2; p = 0.007) and showed a positive linear relation with lesion and reference vessel size (r = 0.58 and 0.56, respectively; p < 0.001), but not with lumen narrowing.

CONCLUSIONS The size of the emptied cavity inside ruptured plaques is on average larger in lesions with adaptive vascular remodelling, and shows a linear relation with lesion plaque and vessel size and with the reference dimensions, but not with the degree of lumen narrowing.

  • intravascular ultrasound
  • ultrasonic scanning
  • plaque rupture
  • remodelling

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