We sought to investigate the differences in coronary plaque morphology on coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) and medical therapy between acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD). We also explored the relationship between plaque morphology on CCTA at the initial phase and lesion morphology in the acute phase of ACS.
In 5967 patients who underwent invasive coronary angiography, 58 ACS and 91 SIHD patients who had prior CCTA imaging of the culprit lesion and denied ischemic heart disease at CCTA scanning were enrolled.
Although the prevalence of positive remodeling was not different (P = 0.27), low-attenuation plaques (LAP) on prior CCTA were significantly higher in ACS than in SIHD (52% vs. 24%, P < 0.01). The frequency of coronary stenosis grading did not differ between the two groups (P = 0.14). In ACS patients, the frequencies of plaque rupture and lipid-rich plaque assessed by optical coherence tomography (OCT) were significantly higher in LAP than in non-LAP (73% vs. 23%, P < 0.01; 82% and 23%, P < 0.01). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that statin use and LAP on prior CCTA were predictors of future ACS events (P < 0.01, and P < 0.05, respectively).
LAP on CCTA, not positive arterial remodeling, and lack of statin therapy were associated with ACS development. In addition, LAP more frequently led to the development of the plaque rupture type of ACS compared with non-LAP. Lipid-lowering therapy with statins might be useful to prevent plaque rupture in patients with LAP regardless of coronary stenosis.