In-vivo comparison of coronary plaque characteristics using optical coherence tomography in women vs. men with acute coronary syndrome

Coron Artery Dis. 2007 Sep;18(6):423-7. doi: 10.1097/MCA.0b013e3282583be8.


Objective: Women with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) have worse outcomes than men. Data on sex differences of culprit plaque characteristics are lacking. Intravascular optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a high-resolution imaging technique capable of in-vivo plaque characterization. The aim of this study was to compare culprit plaque characteristics in women and men presenting with ACS.

Methods: Patients undergoing coronary angiography after ACS were enrolled. We performed OCT imaging on the culprit lesions. Previously validated criteria for OCT plaque characterization were used: lipid was quantified on cross-sectional image and lipid-rich plaque was defined as > or = 2 involved quadrants; fibrous cap thickness was measured at the thinnest point and thin-cap fibroatheroma was defined as lipid-rich plaque with fibrous cap thickness less than 65 microm.

Results: Forty-two patients (33 men and nine women) were included. No significant sex differences were found in baseline characteristics. Lipid-rich plaques were identified in majority of patients. No significant difference, however, was seen in the frequency of lipid-rich plaques, thin-cap fibroatheroma or minimum fibrous cap thickness (79 vs. 89%; 45 vs. 67%; 53.8 vs. 45.4 microm, respectively; P=NS) between men and women. Incidence of calcification, thrombus and plaque disruption were also similar.

Conclusions: No significant sex difference was seen in culprit plaque characteristics determined by OCT imaging in patients who presented with ACS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / pathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Thrombosis / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence