Perivascular Epicardial Fat Stranding at Coronary CT Angiography: A Marker of Acute Plaque Rupture and Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Purpose  To evaluate the frequency and implications of perivascular fat stranding on coronary computed tomography (CT) angiograms obtained for suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Materials and Methods  This retrospective registry study was approved by the institutional review board. The authors reviewed the medical records and images of 1403 consecutive patients (796 men, 607 women; mean age, 52.8 years) who underwent coronary CT angiography at the emergency department from February 2012 to March 2016. Fat attenuation, length and number of circumferential quadrants of the affected segment, and attenuation values in the unaffected epicardial and subcutaneous fat were measured. “Cases” were defined as patients with perivascular fat stranding. Patients with significant stenosis but without fat stranding were considered control subjects. Baseline imaging characteristics, ACS frequency, and results of subsequent downstream testing were compared between cases and control subjects by using two-sample t, Mann-Whitney U, and Fisher tests.

Results  Perivascular fat stranding was seen in 11 subjects, nine with atherosclerotic lesions and two with spontaneous coronary artery dissections, with a mean fat stranding length of 19.2 mm and circumferential extent averaging 2.9 quadrants. The mean attenuation of perivascular fat stranding, normal epicardial fat, and normal subcutaneous fat was 17, -93.2, and -109.3 HU, respectively (P < .001). Significant differences (P < .05) between cases and control subjects included lower Agatston score, presence of wall motion abnormality, and initial elevation of serum troponin level. ACS frequency was 45.4% in cases and 3.8% in control subjects (P = .001).

Conclusion  Recognition of perivascular fat stranding may be a helpful additional predictor of culprit lesion and marker of risk for ACS in patients with significant stenosis or spontaneous coronary artery dissection. © RSNA, 2018 Online supplemental material is available for this article. 

PMID: 29401041

Posted in Computed Tomography.

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