Author + information
- Received June 21, 2001
- Revision received February 20, 2002
- Accepted February 20, 2002
- Published online May 15, 2002.
- James A Shaw, MBBS,
- Bronwyn A Kingwell, PhD,
- Anthony S Walton, FRACP,
- James D Cameron, MD, M Eng Sc,
- Prakash Pillay, MBBS,
- Christoph D Gatzka, MD and
- Anthony M Dart, FRCP, DPhil* ()
- ↵*Reprint requests and correspondence: Dr. Anthony M. Dart, Alfred and Baker Medical Unit, Baker Medical Research Institute, P.O. Box 6492, St. Kilda Road Central, Melbourne, 8008, Australia.
Objectives The goal of this study was to determine factors contributing to the biomechanical properties of coronary arteries in people with and without angiographic coronary artery disease (CAD).
Background The stiffness of the aorta is known to increase with increasing age and in the presence of CAD. However, little is known about the mechanics of coronary arteries, which may have important clinical consequences.
Methods Intravascular ultrasound was used to determine the mechanical properties of coronary arteries and plaque behavior in subjects with CAD (n = 38), those with chest pain but angiographically normal coronary arteries (N) (n = 9) and those early (<2 weeks) after cardiac transplant (T) (n = 14).
Results Coronary arteries dilated during systole in all groups, but cross-sectional compliance and distensibility were lowest in the proximal left anterior descending artery (LAD) in the subjects with CAD compared with the N and T groups (compliance: 1.2 ± 0.2 vs. 1.7 ± 0.5 and 2.7 ± 0.6 × 10−2mm2mm Hg−1[mean ± SEM] respectively, p < 0.02 CAD vs. T; distensibility: 0.8 ± 0.2 vs. 1.7 ± 0.5 and 1.7 ± 0.3 × 10−3mm Hg−1, p < 0.05 CAD vs. T). There was extensive plaque in the CAD group, and plaque was also present in the N group, but minimal atheroma was present in the T group. Plaque cross-sectional area diminished significantly during systole in both the LAD and circumflex arteries. Absolute changes were: 0.50 ± 0.30, 0.33 ± 0.11 and 0.68 ± 0.13 mm2in the proximal LAD, distal LAD and proximal circumflex arteries, respectively. In subjects with atheroma, there was a significant correlation between cross-sectional compliance and plaque compression at all sites, and plaque compression was a significant determinant of cross-sectional compliance at both proximal sites in multiple regression analyses with age, mean arterial pressure and extent of plaque as the other independent variables.
Conclusions A major determinant of the systolic increase in coronary luminal area in patients with atheroma is a reduction in plaque cross-sectional area during systole.
☆ From the Alfred and Baker Medical Unit, Alfred Hospital and Baker Medical Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Supported by a NH&MRC institute grant to the Baker Medical Research Institute and a Center for Clinical Excellence grant to the Alfred and Baker Medical Unit. Dr. James Shaw is supported by an Australian National Heart Foundation medical post-graduate scholarship.
- Received June 21, 2001.
- Revision received February 20, 2002.
- Accepted February 20, 2002.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation