High-risk plaque identified by coronary computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is associated with future major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), according to a recent study in a large U.S. population of outpatients with stable chest pain. The study was published in JAMA: Cardiology.
Of the total patient group, 2,296 (52 percent) were women, with a mean age of 60.5 years and a median ACC/American Heart Association atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk score of 11; their rate of MACE was 3 percent (131 events). A total of 676 patients (15.3 percent) had high-risk plaques, and 276 (6.3 percent) had significant stenosis.
The presence of high-risk plaque was associated with a significantly higher MACE rate (6.4 percent vs. 2.4 percent; hazard ratio [HR], 2.73). This association persisted after adjustment for ASCVD risk score and significant stenosis (adjusted HR, 1.72). Adding high-risk plaque to the ASCVD risk score and significant stenosis assessment led to a significant continuous net reclassification improvement (0.34; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.02-0.51).
"High-risk plaque may be an additional risk stratification tool, especially in patients with nonobstructive coronary artery disease, young patients, and women." — Maros Ferencik, MD, PhD, et al.
Among patients with nonobstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), presence of high-risk plaque increased MACE risk relative to patients without high-risk plaque (adjusted HR, 4.31 vs. 2.64).
There were no significant differences in MACE in patients with significant stenosis and high-risk plaque vs. those with significant stenosis but no high-risk plaque. High-risk plaque was a stronger predictor of MACE in women than in men (adjusted HR, 2.41 vs. 1.40, respectively) and in younger than in older patients (adjusted HR, 2.33 vs. 1.36).
“High-risk plaque may be an additional risk stratification tool, especially in patients with nonobstructive coronary artery disease, younger patients, and women,” the authors write. “The importance of the findings is limited by low absolute MACE rates and low positive predictive value of high-risk plaque.”
Ferencik M, Mayrhofer T, Bittner DO, et al. JAMA Cardiol 2018;Jan 10:[Epub ahead of print].
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