NIRS and IVUS for characterization of atherosclerosis in patients undergoing coronary angiography
Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the findings of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) virtual histology (VH), and grayscale IVUS obtained in matched coronary vessel segments of patients undergoing coronary angiography. Background: Intravascular ultrasound VH has been developed to add tissue characterization to the grayscale IVUS assessment of coronary plaques. Near-infrared spectroscopy is a new imaging technique able to identify lipid core-containing coronary plaques (LCP). Methods: We performed NIRS and IVUS-VH pullbacks in a consecutive series of 31 patients with a common region of interest (ROI) between 2 side branches. For each ROI, we analyzed the chemogram blocks by NIRS, plaque area and plaque burden by grayscale IVUS, and tissue types by IVUS-VH. The chemogram block is a summary metric of a 2-mm vertical slice of the chemogram. The value ranges from 0 to 1 according to the presence of lipids and represents the probability of LCP with a color scale from red (low probability) through orange and tan to yellow (high probability). Results: Plaque area (mm2) increases as percentage VH derived-necrotic core (NC) content (4.6 ± 2.7 vs. 7.4 ± 3.5 vs. 8.6 ± 3.4 vs. 7.9 ± 3.3, grouped in percentage NC quartiles, p < 0.001) and chemogram block probability color bin thresholds increase (4.9 ± 3.8 red, 7.3 ± 3.6 orange, 8.1 ± 3.4 tan, and 8.7 ± 3.4 yellow, p < 0.001). The correlation between the block chemogram detection of lipid core and percentage NC content by VH was weak (r = 0.149). Correction for the presence of calcium does not improve this correlation. Conclusions: Larger plaque area by grayscale IVUS was more often associated with either elevated percentage VH-NC or LCP by NIRS; however, the correlation between the detection of LCP by NIRS and necrotic core by VH is weak.