Vessel-specific plaque features on coronary computed tomography angiography among patients of varying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk

PARADIGM investigators

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Aims: The relationship between AtheroSclerotic CardioVascular Disease (ASCVD) risk and vessel-specific plaque evaluation using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), focusing on plaque extent and composition, has not been examined. To evaluate differences in quantified plaque characteristics (using CCTA) between the three major coronary arteries [left anterior descending (LAD), right coronary (RCA), and left circumflex (LCx)] among subgroups of patients with varying ASCVD risk. Methods and results: Patients were included from a prospective, international registry of consecutive patients who underwent CCTA for evaluation of coronary artery disease. ASCVD risk groups were <7.5% (low), 7.5-20% (intermediate), and ≥20% (high). Among the ASCVD risk groups, the three coronary arteries were compared regarding quantified plaque volume and composition. Whole-heart plaque quantification was performed in 1340 patients (age 60 ± 9 years, 58% men). Across low, intermediate, and high ASCVD risk patients, the volume of plaque increased proportionally but was least in the LCx (7.4, 9.0, and 25.3 mm3, respectively) as compared with the RCA (19.3, 32.6, and 67.0 mm3, respectively, all P ≤ 0.006) and LAD (39.9, 60.8, and 93.3 mm3, respectively, all P < 0.001). In each ASCVD risk group, the composition of plaque in the LCx exhibited the least necrotic core and fibrofatty plaque (P < 0.05 vs. LAD and RCA). Conclusion: Among patients with varying risk of ASCVD, plaque in the LCx is decidedly less and is comprised of less non-calcified plaque supporting prior evidence of the lower rates of acute coronary events in this vessel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1179
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean heart journal cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Leading Foreign Research Institute Recruitment Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) (grant no. 2012027176). The study was also funded in part by a grant from the Dalio Foundation (New York, NY, USA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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