Atherosclerosis has been shown to develop preferentially at sites of coronary bifurcation, yet culprit lesions resulting in ST-elevation myocardial infarction do not occur more frequently at these sites. We hypothesized that these findings can be explained by similarities in intracoronary lipid and that lipid and lipid core plaque would be found with similar frequency in coronary bifurcation and nonbifurcation segments. One hundred seventy bifurcations were identified, 156 of which had comparative nonbifurcation segments proximal and/or distal to the bifurcation. We compared lipid deposition at bifurcation and nonbifurcation segments in coronary arteries using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a novel method for the in vivo detection of coronary lipid. Any NIRS signal for the presence of lipid was found with similar frequency in bifurcation and nonbifurcation segments (79% vs 74%, p = NS). Lipid core burden index, a measure of total lipid quantity indexed to segment length, was similar across bifurcation segments as well as their proximal and distal controls (lipid core burden index 66.3 ± 106, 67.1 ± 116, and 66.6 ± 104, p = NS). Lipid core plaque, identified as a high-intensity focal NIRS signal, was found in 21% of bifurcation segments, and 20% of distal nonbifurcation segments (p = NS). In conclusion, coronary bifurcations do not appear to have higher levels of intracoronary lipid or lipid core plaque than their comparative nonbifurcation regions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine