Objectives: We sought to examine associations between plaque characteristics by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and detectability of external elastic lamina (EEL) by optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI) in human coronary arteries. Background: It is often challenging to detect EEL which represents vessel size by light-based imaging modalities due to light intensity attenuation through atherosclerotic plaque. Methods: IVUS and OFDI prior to stent implantation were sequentially investigated per protocol. We identified corresponding cross-sections by minimum lumen area (MLA) or just distally to side branches as anatomical landmarks. Plaque characterization was determined by integrated backscatter IVUS analysis. We categorized detectable EEL arc by OFDI into four groups: 0≤ and <1 quadrant (group 1), 1≤ and <2 quadrants (group 2), 2≤ and <3 quadrants (group 3), or 3≤ and <4 quadrants (group 4). Results: We prospectively studied 103 vessels in 93 patients with stable coronary artery disease. Corresponding 711 cross-sections were analyzed. Cross-sections with detectable EEL arc <2 quadrants (group 1 or 2) were observed in 86.1% of MLA sites but only in 29.3% of non-MLA sites (p <.05). Percentage plaque area (%PA) appeared to be the strongest predictor to detect EEL arc <2 quadrants with the cut-off of 60.3% (AUC 0.90; sensitivity 79.8%, specificity 85.5%). Lipid pool and calcification remained statistically significant in predicting detectable EEL arc <2 quadrants after adjustment with %PA. Conclusions: Presence of large plaque burden, lipid pool, and calcification significantly predicts the detectability of EEL by OFDI assessment. Locations with detectable EEL arc <2 quadrants should thus be avoided for optimal stent landing zone.
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