Background: Coronary endothelial function (CEF) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) varies among coronary segments in a given patient. Because both coronary vessel wall eccentricity and coronary endothelial dysfunction are predictors of adverse outcomes, we hypothesized that local coronary endothelial dysfunction is associated with local coronary artery eccentricity. Methods: We used 3 T coronary CMR to measure CEF as changes in coronary cross-sectional area (CSA) and coronary blood flow (CBF) during isometric handgrip exercise (IHE), a known endothelial-dependent stressor, in 29 patients with known CAD and 16 healthy subjects. Black-blood MRI quantified mean coronary wall thickness (CWT) and coronary eccentricity index (EI) and CEF was determined in the same segments. Results: IHE-induced changes in CSA and CBF in healthy subjects (10.6 ± 6.6% and 38.3 ± 29%, respectively) were greater than in CAD patients 1.3 ± 7.7% and 6.5 ± 19.6%, respectively, p < 0.001 vs. healthy for both measures), as expected. Mean CWT and EI in healthy subjects (1.1 ± 0.3 mm 1.9 ± 0.5, respectively) were less than those in CAD patients (1.6 ± 0.4 mm, p < 0.0001; and 2.6 ± 0.6, p = 0.006 vs. healthy). In CAD patients, we observed a significant inverse relationship between stress-induced %CSA change and both EI (r = -0.60, p = 0.0002), and CWT (r = -0.54, p = 0.001). Coronary EI was independently and significantly related to %CSA change with IHE even after controlling for mean CWT (adjusted r = -0.69, p = 0.0001). For every unit increase in EI, coronary CSA during IHE is expected to change by -6.7 ± 9.4% (95% confidence interval: -10.3 to -3.0, p = 0.001). Conclusion: There is a significant inverse and independent relationship between coronary endothelial macrovascular function and the degree of local coronary wall eccentricity in CAD patients. Thus anatomic and physiologic indicators of high-risk coronary vascular pathology are closely related. The noninvasive identification of coronary eccentricity and its relationship with underlying coronary endothelial function, a marker of vascular health, may be useful in identifying high-risk patients and culprit lesions.
- Coronary artery disease
- Magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine