Aims: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and significance of plaque with a multilayered (ML) pattern in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) versus stable angina pectoris (SAP) using OCT.
Methods and results: Two hundred and four patients (144 ACS and 60 SAP) with OCT imaging of the culprit lesions before intervention were studied. ML plaques were identified by OCT as plaque with multiple layers of distinct optical signals. ML plaque was identified in 119 out of 204 (58.3%) patients. ML plaques were more frequently observed in SAP than ACS (75% vs 51.4%, p=0.001). Patients with prior myocardial infarction (MI) had a higher incidence of ML plaque compared with those without (74.4% vs 54.5%, p=0.024). ML plaque had a higher degree of luminal stenosis (p=0.006), longer lesion length (p=0.025), more complex lesion type (B2/C) (p<0.001) on angiography and non-significant larger plaque burden (p=0.07) on IVUS compared with those without an ML pattern.
Conclusions: ML plaques, indicative of prior thrombosis, were frequently identified in patients with CAD, particularly more so in SAP and those with prior MI compared with ACS. The presence of an ML pattern is a marker of a greater extent and severity of CAD, suggesting a pathogenic link between plaque healing and lesion progression.