Aims: Repetitive, fluctuating stress is an important biomechanical mechanism that underlies the rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. We developed a novel coronary angiography-based method for in vivo fourdimensional analysis of dynamic superficial wall stress (SWS) in coronary plaques and applied it for the first time in two clinical cases. Our aim was to investigate the potential relationship between dynamic stress concentration at baseline and plaque rupture during acute coronary syndrome (ACS) several months later. Methods and results: Three-dimensional angiographic reconstructions of the interrogated arteries were performed at several phases of the cardiac cycle, followed by finite element analysis to obtain the dynamic SWS data. The peak stress at baseline was found at the distal and proximal lesion longitudinal shoulders, being 121.8 kPa and 98.0 kPa, respectively. Intriguingly, in both cases, the sites with the highest SWS concentration at baseline co-registered with the location of plaque rupture during ACS, respectively six and 18 months after the baseline angiographic assessment. Conclusions: A novel angiography-based analysis method for four-dimensional evaluation of dynamic SWS was feasible for investigating plaque biomechanical behaviour in vivo. Initial experience suggests that this technique could be useful in exploring mechanisms of future plaque rupture.
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