Aims: The main cause of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the disruption of a thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) and subsequent thrombosis. Mortality increases in diabetic patients due to cardiovascular events; there may be differences in the vulnerable plaques between diabetic and non-diabetic patients. We used optical coherence tomography (OCT) to assess the incidence of vulnerable plaques in diabetic patients with AMI.
Methods and results: OCT was performed in all three major coronary arteries of 70 AMI patients: 48 non-diabetic and 22 diabetic patients. The OCT criterion for TCFA was the presence of both a lipid-rich plaque composition and a fibrotic cap thickness of <65 µm. A ruptured plaque contains a cavity in contact with a lumen and a residual fibrous cap. OCT identified 68 plaque ruptures (1.0 per patient; range, 0-3) and 162 TCFAs (2.3 per patient; range, 0-5). The incidences of plaque rupture and TCFA at culprit lesions were similar. However, non-culprit-lesion TCFAs were observed more frequently in diabetic patients than in non-diabetic patients.
Conclusions: Although the prevalence of vulnerable plaque in culprit lesions was similar between diabetic and non-diabetic patients, vulnerable plaques were observed in non-culprit lesions more in diabetic patients than in non-diabetic patients.