High von Willebrand factor (VWF) plasma levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. It has been suggested that the increase of VWF levels is partly due to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Our aim was to investigate the association between coronary plaque burden, the presence of high-risk coronary lesions as measured by intravascular ultrasound virtual histology (IVUS-VH) and VWF levels. In addition, we studied the association between VWF levels and one-year cardiovascular outcome. Between 2008 and 2011, IVUS-VH imaging of a non-culprit coronary artery was performed in 581 patients undergoing coronary angiography for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) (n= 318) or stable angina pectoris (SAP) (n= 263). Arterial blood was sampled prior to the coronary angiography. VWF antigen (VWF:Ag) levels were measured using ELISA (n= 577). Patients with ACS had significantly higher VWF:Ag levels than SAP patients (median 1.73 IU/ml [IQR 1.27-2.31] vs 1.26 IU/ml [0.93-1.63], p< 0.001). High coronary plaque burden was associated with higher VWF:Ag levels (β= 0.12, p=0.027) in SAP patients, but not in ACS patients. In ACS patients, VWF:Ag levels were associated with 1-year MACE (HR 4.14 per SD increase of lnVWF:Ag, 95 % CI 1.47-11.6), whereas in SAP patients VWF:Ag levels predicted 1-year all-cause death and hospitalisation for ACS (HR 7.07 95 % CI 1.40-35.6). In conclusion, coronary plaque burden was associated with VWF:Ag levels in SAP patients undergoing coronary angiography. In ACS and SAP patients, high VWF levels are predictive of adverse cardiovascular outcome and death during one-year follow-up.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01789411.
Keywords: acute myocardial infarction; atherosclerosis; cardiology; von Willebrand factor.