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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1999 Apr;33(5):1353-61.

Geometric features of coronary artery lesions favoring acute occlusion and myocardial infarction: a quantitative angiographic study.

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Department of Cardiology, Broussais Hospital, Paris, France.



We sought to identify the angiographic predictors of a future infarction, to study their interaction with time to infarction, patient risk factors and medications, and to evaluate their clinical utility for risk stratification.


Identification of coronary lesions at risk of acute occlusion remains challenging. Stenosis severity is poorly predictive but other stenosis descriptors might be better predictors.


Eighty-four patients with an acute myocardial infarction and a coronary angiogram performed within the preceding 36 months (baseline angiogram), and after infarction were selected. All coronary stenoses (from 10% to 95% lumen diameter reduction) at baseline angiogram were analyzed by computer-assisted quantification. Each of the 84 lesions responsible for the infarction (culprit) was compared with the nonculprit stenoses (controls) in the same patient.


Culprit lesions were more symmetrical (symmetry index +15%; p < 0.001), had steeper outflow angles (maximal angle +4 degrees; p < 0.001), were more severe (percent stenosis +5%; p = 0.001) and longer (+ 1.5 mm, p = 0.01) than controls. The symmetry index and the outflow angles were the two independent predictors of infarction at three-year follow-up. Stenosis severity predicted only infarctions occurring within 1 year after angiography. In moderately severe stenoses (40% to 70% stenosis), stratification using the symmetry index and outflow angles accurately predicted lesions remaining free of occlusion and infarction at three-year follow-up.


Better characterization of stenosis geometry might help to understand the pathophysiologic mechanisms triggering coronary occlusion and to stratify patients for improved care.

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