Author + information
- Received December 22, 2006
- Revision received March 13, 2007
- Accepted April 3, 2007
- Published online September 4, 2007.
- Pavan K. Cheruvu, MSc⁎,1,⁎ (, )
- Aloke V. Finn, MD†,
- Craig Gardner, PhD‡,2,
- Jay Caplan, BS‡,3,
- James Goldstein, MD§,4,
- Gregg W. Stone, MD∥,5,
- Renu Virmani, MD¶,6 and
- James E. Muller, MD‡,7
- ↵⁎Reprint requests and correspondence:
Mr. Pavan K. Cheruvu, 104 Toxteth Street, #4, Brookline, Massachusetts 02446.
Objectives Our purpose was to quantify the frequency and distribution of suspected vulnerable lesions, defined as thin-capped fibroatheroma (TCFA) and ruptured plaque, in human coronary artery autopsy specimens.
Background Most acute coronary events and sudden death are believed to arise from rupture of a TCFA followed by thrombosis. Although there is general agreement that clinical events are usually caused by focal lesions, there is considerable debate over the relative importance of focal versus systemic factors in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
Methods We longitudinally sectioned coronary arteries from 50 whole hearts taken from patients (mean age 73 years, 64% men) dying of cardiovascular (n = 33), noncardiovascular (n = 13), and unknown (n = 4) causes. A total of 3,639 longitudinal segments of length 3 mm were sectioned from 148 arteries, accounting for 10.9 m of total tissue length. Specimens were classified on the basis of histology and computer-aided morphometry.
Results Twenty-three TCFA and 19 ruptured plaques were found (mean ± SD: 0.46 ± 0.95 and 0.38 ± 0.70 per heart, respectively), and these lesions accounted for only 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively, of the total length of the coronary tree examined in patients dying of cardiovascular causes. The majority of TCFA and ruptured plaque localized in the proximal third of the major coronary arteries, and in 92% of cases these lesions clustered within 2 or fewer nonoverlapping 20-mm segments.
Conclusions The suspected precursors of rupture-mediated thrombosis occur in a limited, focal distribution in the coronary arteries.
↵1 Mr. Cheruvu is a former employee of InfraReDx Inc.
↵2 Dr. Gardner is an employee of InfraReDx Inc.
↵3 Mr. Caplan is an employee of InfraReDx Inc. and owns stock in InfraReDx Inc.
↵4 Dr. Goldstein is a consultant for and owns stock in InfraReDx Inc.
↵5 Dr. Stone is a consultant for Volcano, Abbott Vascular Devices, Boston Scientific Corp., Thermocore Ltd., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Imaging, and owns stock in Thermocore Ltd. and Prescient Medical
↵6 Dr. Virmani is on the medical advisory board of InfraReDx Inc.
↵7 Dr. Muller is the CEO and founder of InfraReDx Inc.
This work was supported by funding from InfraReDx, Inc.
- Received December 22, 2006.
- Revision received March 13, 2007.
- Accepted April 3, 2007.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation