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Circulation. 2002 Jun 25;105(25):2974-80.

Morphological predictors of restenosis after coronary stenting in humans.

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Department of Cardiovascular Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC 20306-6000, USA.



Experimental studies suggest that arterial injury and inflammation lead to increased neointimal growth after stenting. Despite the increased use of coronary stents in humans, there are only limited pathological data on the morphological features of in-stent restenosis.


Detailed histology was performed on 116 stents, implanted > or =90 days in 87 coronary arteries, from 56 patients (mean age, 59+/-13 years). The mean duration of stent implant was 10 months. In-stent restenosis was defined as a stent area stenosis of >75%. Lumen area increased as stent area increased (r2=0.27, P=0.0001), but there was a much stronger correlation between stent area and neointimal area (r2=0.70, P<0.0001). Arterial medial fracture was associated with a 29% increase (P<0.01) in neointimal thickness compared with arteries with an intact media. Neointimal thickness (P=0.0001), inflammatory cell density (P<0.0001), and neointimal vascular channel density (P<0.0001) were greater when struts were in contact with a ruptured arterial media compared with fibrous plaque or an intact fibrous cap. Stent strut penetration into a lipid core was associated with increased neointimal thickness (P=0.04) and inflammatory cell density (P=0.03). Neointimal inflammatory cell content was 2.4-fold greater in stents with restenosis versus no restenosis, and inflammation was associated with increased neoangiogenesis.


Coronary stenting that is accompanied by medial damage or penetration of the stent into a lipid core induces increased arterial inflammation, which is associated with increased neointimal growth. These data suggest the use of stenting strategies that reduce inflammation and neoangiogenesis to reduce the incidence of restenosis.

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