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Circulation. 2001 Sep 25;104(13):1477-82.

Left ventricular muscle mass and elevated heart rate are associated with coronary plaque disruption.

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Department of Cardiology, Pneumology, and Angiology, School of Internal Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.



Plaque disruption is the central pathophysiological mechanism underlying acute coronary syndromes and the progression of coronary atherosclerosis. There exists only scant information about the factors that are associated with its development. The aim of the current study was to analyze the contribution of hemodynamic forces in the pathogenesis of plaque disruption. Plaque disruption was diagnosed by coronary angiography of stenosed but not completely occluded coronary arteries.


This study retrospectively analyzed 106 patients who underwent 2 coronary angiography procedures within 6 months. We investigated 53 patients with initially smooth stenoses who developed plaque disruption by the time of the second coronary angiogram and compared these patients with 53 age- and sex-matched individuals with smooth stenoses without angiographic signs of plaque disruption. The 2 groups were compared by analyzing central hemodynamics, echocardiographic measurements, and cardiovascular medication use. Logistic regression analysis identified positive associations between plaque disruption, left ventricular muscle mass >270 g, and a mean heart rate >80 bpm and a negative association with the use of beta-blockers.


The associations documented by our investigation indicate that hemodynamic forces may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of plaque disruption. These findings may help to identify patients who are at an increased risk of plaque disruption and who might gain benefit from pharmacological interventions aimed at reducing heart rate, for example, by the use of beta-blockers, or a reduction of left ventricular hypertrophy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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