BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Plaque ulceration is a marker of previous plaque rupture. We studied the association between atherosclerotic plaque composition at baseline and plaque ulceration at baseline and follow-up. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We included symptomatic patients with a carotid stenosis of ,70% who underwent MDCTA and MR imaging at baseline (n=180). MDCTA was repeated at 2 years (n=73). We assessed the presence of ulceration using MDCTA. Baseline MR imaging was used to assess the vessel wall volume and the presence and volume of plaque components (intraplaque hemorrhage, lipid-rich necrotic core, and calcifications) and the fibrous cap status. Associations at baseline were evaluated with binary logistic regression and reported with an OR and its 95% CI. Simple statistical testing was performed in the follow-up analysis. RESULTS: At baseline, the prevalence of plaque ulceration was 27% (49/180). Increased wall volume (OR = 12.1; 95% CI, 3.5-42.0), higher relative lipid-rich necrotic core (OR= 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.2), higher relative intraplaque hemorrhage volume (OR= 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.2), and a thin-or-ruptured fibrous cap (OR = 3.4; 95% CI, 1.7-6.7) were associated with the presence of ulcerations at baseline. In 8% (6/73) of the patients, a new ulcer developed. Plaques with a new ulceration at follow-up had at baseline a larger wall volume (1.04 cm3 [IQR, 0.97-1.16 cm3] versus 0.86 cm3 [IQR, 0.73-1.00 cm3]; P=.029), a larger relative lipid-rich necrotic core volume (23% [IQR, 13-31%] versus 2% [IQR, 0-14%]; P=.002), and a larger relative intraplaque hemorrhage volume (14% [IQR, 8-24%] versus 0% [IQR, 0-5%]; P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Large atherosclerotic plaques and plaques with intraplaque hemorrhage and lipid-rich necrotic cores were associated with plaque ulcerations at baseline and follow-up.

doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A6868, hdl.handle.net/1765/133516
American Journal of Neuroradiology
Department of Radiology

Dilba, K. (K.), van Dam-Nolen, D.H.K. (D. H.K.), Nouwens- van Dijk, A.C, Kassem, M. (M.), van der Steen, A.F.W. (A. F.W.), Koudstaal, P.J. (P. J.), … van der Lugt, A. (2021). Plaque composition as a predictor of plaque ulceration in carotid artery atherosclerosis: The plaque at RISK study. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 42(1), 144–151. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A6868