Recurrent unstable angina after directional coronary atherectomy is related to the extent of initial coronary plaque inflammation

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Apr;37(5):1271-6. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(01)01133-0.


Objectives: This study was performed to evaluate the relationship between plaque inflammation of the initial culprit lesion and the incidence of recurrent angina for one year after directional coronary atherectomy (DCA).

Background: A positive correlation between coronary plaque inflammation and angiographic restenosis has been reported.

Methods: A total of 110 patients underwent DCA. Cryostat sections were immunohistochemically stained with monoclonal antibodies CD68 (macrophages), CD-3 (T lymphocytes) and alpha-actin (smooth muscle cells [SMCs]). The SMC and macrophage contents were planimetrically quantified as a percentage of the total tissue area. T lymphocytes were counted as the number of cells/mm2. The patients were followed for one year to document recurrent unstable angina pectoris (UAP) or stable angina pectoris (SAP).

Results: Recurrent UAP developed in 16 patients, whereas recurrent SAP developed in 17 patients. The percent macrophage areas were larger in patients with recurrent UAP (27 +/- 12%) than in patients with recurrent SAP (8 +/- 4%; p = 0.0001) and those without recurrent angina (18 +/- 14%; p = 0.03). The number of T lymphocytes was also greater in patients with recurrent UAP (25 +/- 14 cells/mm2) than in patients with recurrent SAP (14 +/- 8 cells/mm2; p = 0.02) and those without recurrent angina (14 +/- 12 cells/mm2; p = 0.002). Multiple stepwise logistic regression analysis identified macrophage areas and T lymphocytes as independent predictors for recurrent UAP.

Conclusions: There is a positive association between the extent of initial coronary plaque inflammation and the recurrence of unstable angina during long-term follow-up after DCA. These results underline the role of ongoing smoldering plaque inflammation in the recurrence of unstable angina after coronary interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / immunology
  • Angina Pectoris / pathology
  • Angina Pectoris / surgery
  • Angina, Unstable / immunology
  • Angina, Unstable / pathology
  • Angina, Unstable / surgery*
  • Atherectomy, Coronary*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / immunology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / pathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / surgery*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / immunology*
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology