OBJECTIVES: Recent intravascular ultrasound studies have described atherosclerotic plaques with echo attenuation (EA) without associated bright echoes that are correlated with no-reflow phenomenon after PCI. This study examined morphological characteristics of echo-attenuated plaques by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and evaluated their influence on creatine kinase-myocardial band (CK-MB) elevation after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in patients with elective stent implantation.
METHODS: We studied 135 native de novo culprit coronary lesions in 135 patients with normal pre-PCI CK-MB levels (28 with unstable angina; 107 with stable angina) who underwent intravascular ultrasound and OCT examinations before elective stent implantation. The lesions were divided into 2 groups based on the presence or absence of EA, and OCT findings were compared. We then determined predictors of post-PCI CK-MB elevation.
RESULTS: EA was found in 47 (34.8%) lesions and was associated with the presence of OCT-derived thin-capped fibroatheroma, ruptured plaques, greater lipid content, intravascular ultrasound-derived large reference and plaque area, lesion eccentricity, and microcalcification. Elevated CK-MB levels were observed in 36 (26.7%) lesions, and significantly more frequently in lesions with EA than without. In multivariable analysis, EA (odds ratio [OR]: 3.49; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.53 to 7.93; p = 0.003) and OCT-derived ruptured plaque (OR: 2.92; 95% CI: 1.21 to 7.06; p = 0.017) were independent predictors of post-PCI CK-MB elevation.
CONCLUSIONS: Atherosclerotic plaques with EA were associated with characteristics considered to be high risk or unstable. OCT examination showed an additive predictive value to the presence of EA for post-PCI CK-MB elevation.