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Prognostic implications of non-culprit plaques in acute coronary syndrome: non-invasive assessment with coronary CT angiography

Admir Dedic , Akira Kurata , Marisa Lubbers , Willem Bob Meijboom , Bas van Dalen , Sanne Snelder , Rebbeca Korbee , Adriaan Moelker , Mohamed Ouhlous , Ron van Domburg , Pim J. de Feijter , Koen Nieman
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeu111 1231-1237 First published online: 17 June 2014


Aims Non-culprit plaques are responsible for a substantial number of future events in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). In this study, we evaluated the prognostic implications of non-culprit plaques seen on coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) in patients with ACS.

Methods and results Coronary CTA was performed in 169 patients (mean 59 ± 11 years, 129 males) admitted with ACS. Data sets were assessed for the presence of obstructive non-culprit plaques (>50% luminal narrowing), segment involvement score, and quantitative measures of plaque burden, after censoring initial culprit plaques. Follow-up was performed for the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) unrelated to the initial culprit plaque; cardiac death, second ACS, or coronary revascularization after 90 days. After a median follow-up of 4.8 (IQR 2.6–6.6) years, MACE occurred in 36 (24%) patients: 6 cardiac deaths, 16 second ACS, and 14 coronary revascularizations. Dyslipidaemia (hazard ratio [HR] 3.1 [95% confidence interval 1.5–6.6]) and diabetes mellitus (HR 4.8 [2.3–10.3]) were univariable clinical predictors of MACE. Patients with remaining obstructive non-culprit plaques (HR 3.66 [1.52–8.80]) and higher plaque burden index (HR 1.22 [1.01–1.48]) had a more risk of MACE. In multivariate analysis, with diabetes, dyslipidaemia, and plaque burden index, obstructive non-culprit plaques (HR 3.76 [1.28–11.09]) remained an independent predictor of MACE.

Conclusion Almost a quarter of the study population experienced a new event arising from a non-culprit plaque during a follow-up of almost 5 years. ACS patients with remaining obstructive non-culprit plaques or high plaque burden have an increased risk of future MACE.

  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Coronary CT angiography
  • Non-culprit plaques
  • Plaque burden
  • Prognosis
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