Purpose: Patients with myocardial bridges (MBs) have a higher prevalence of atherosclerosis. Wall shear stress (WSS) has previously been correlated with plaque in coronary artery disease patients, but such correlations have not been investigated in symptomatic MB patients. The aim of this paper was to use a multi-scale computational fluid dynamics (CFD) framework to simulate hemodynamics in MB patient, and investigate the co-localization of WSS and plaque.
Methods: We identified N = 10 patients from a previously reported cohort of 50 symptomatic MB patients, all of whom had plaque in the proximal vessel. Dynamic 3D models were reconstructed from coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and catheter angiograms. CFD simulations were performed to compute WSS proximal to, within and distal to the MB. Plaque was quantified from IVUS images in 2 mm segments and registered to CFD model. Plaque area was compared to absolute and patient-normalized WSS.
Results: WSS was lower in the proximal segment compared to the bridge segment (6.1 ± 2.9 vs. 16.0 ± 7.1 dynes/cm2, p value < 0.01). Plaque area and plaque burden measured from IVUS peaked at 1-3 cm proximal to the MB entrance, coinciding with the first diagonal branch. Normalized WSS showed a statistically significant moderate correlation with plaque area (r = 0.41, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: WSS may be obtained non-invasively in MB patients and provides a surrogate marker of plaque area. Using CFD, it may be possible to non-invasively assess the extent of plaque area, and identify patients who could benefit from frequent monitoring or medical management.
Keywords: Computational modelling; Coronary artery disease; Coronary atherosclerosis; Hemodynamics.
© 2022. The Author(s) under exclusive licence to Biomedical Engineering Society.