Is spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) related to local anatomy and hemodynamics? An exploratory study

Int J Cardiol. 2023 Sep 1;386:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2023.05.006. Epub 2023 May 16.


Aims: Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is an increasingly diagnosed cause of myocardial infarction with unclear pathophysiology. The aim of the study was to test if vascular segments site of SCAD present distinctive local anatomy and hemodynamic profiles.

Methods: Coronary arteries with spontaneously healed SCAD (confirmed by follow-up angiography) underwent three-dimensional reconstruction, morphometric analysis with definition of vessel local curvature and torsion, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations with derivation of time-averaged wall shear stress (TAWSS) and topological shear variation index (TSVI). The (reconstructed) healed proximal SCAD segment was visually inspected for co-localization with curvature, torsion, and CFD-derived quantities hot spots.

Results: Thirteen vessels with healed SCAD underwent the morpho-functional analysis. Median time between baseline and follow-up coronary angiograms was 57 (interquartile range [IQR] 45-95) days. In seven cases (53.8%), SCAD was classified as type 2b and occurred in the left anterior descending artery or near a bifurcation. In all cases (100%), at least one hot spot co-localized within the healed proximal SCAD segment, in 9 cases (69.2%) ≥ 3 hot spots were identified. Healed SCAD in proximity of a coronary bifurcation presented lower TAWSS peak values (6.65 [IQR 6.20-13.20] vs. 3.81 [2.53-5.17] Pa, p = 0.008) and hosted less frequently TSVI hot spots (100% vs. 57.1%, p = 0.034).

Conclusion: Vascular segments of healed SCAD were characterized by high curvature/torsion and WSS profiles reflecting increased local flow disturbances. Hence, a pathophysiological role of the interaction between vessel anatomy and shear forces in SCAD is hypothesized.

Keywords: Computational fluid dynamics; Coronary tortuosity; Spontaneous coronary artery dissection; Wall shear stress.

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography / adverse effects
  • Coronary Vessel Anomalies* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction* / etiology
  • Vascular Diseases* / diagnostic imaging

Supplementary concepts

  • Coronary Artery Dissection, Spontaneous