Abstract 16514: Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Detected Carotid Plaque Characteristics Predict Systemic Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients With Clinically Established Atherosclerosis in the AIH-HIGH Study
Background: Although vulnerable plaques are considered the pathological substrate for acute cardiovascular events, the pursuit of imaging surrogate markers for systemic atherothrombotic risk is currently focused on plaque burden. The prognostic value of vulnerable plaque characteristics as novel markers for systemic cardiovascular outcomes remains elusive. Advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have enabled characterization of the vulnerable carotid plaque. In a prospective study, we tested whether MRI-detected carotid plaque characteristics predict subsequent cardiovascular events.
Methods: As part of an event-driven clinical trial, subjects with clinically established atherosclerotic disease were recruited. A multi-sequence protocol was used to measure the volumes of calcification and necrotic core (NC), and to identify the presence of intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) and thin/ruptured fibrous cap (FC) using published criteria. The primary endpoint included fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke, hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome, and symptom-driven revascularization. Cox regression analysis was used to present results as hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: Of 232 subjects recruited, 214 (92.2%) with diagnostic image quality constituted the study population (mean age: 61±9 years; male: 82%; statin use: 94%). Calcification, NC, IPH, and thin/ruptured FC were detected in 48%, 52%, 8% and 14% of subjects, respectively. During a median follow-up of 35.1 months, 18 (8.4%) subjects reached the primary endpoint. MRI-detected plaque characteristics associated with the primary endpoint included larger NC (HR per 1 standard deviation increase in volume [1-SD]: 1.43 [1.16, 1.75], p<0.001), thin/ruptured FC (HR: 4.31 [1.67, 11.12], p=0.003), and marginally IPH (HR: 3.00 [0.99, 9.13], p=0.053). Although calcium deposition is traditionally pursued as a marker for atherosclerosis, subjects with larger calcification (HR per 1-SD: 0.60 [0.26, 1.41], p=0.20) did not show increased risk.
Conclusions: Vulnerable plaque characteristics are prevalent in carotid arteries of patients with established atherosclerosis and are predictive of systemic cardiovascular outcomes.
Author Disclosures: J. Sun: None. X. Zhao: None. N. Balu: None. M.B. Neradilek: None. D.A. Isquith: None. K. Yamada: None. G. Canton: None. J.R. Crouse: None. T.J. Anderson: None. J. Huston: None. K. O’Brien: None. D.S. Hippe: None. N.L. Polissar: None. C. Yuan: Research Grant; Modest; Philips Medical. Consultant/Advisory Board; Modest; BristolMyers Squibb Medical Imaging (ends Oct. 2014), Philips Healthcare - ends Dec. 2014. T.S. Hatsukami: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.