Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is sensitive to early atherosclerotic changes such as positive remodeling in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). We assessed prevalence, quality, and extent of coronary atherosclerosis in a group of healthy subjects compared to patients with confirmed CAD. Methodology: Twenty-two patients with confirmed CAD (15M, 7F, mean age 60.4 +/- 10.4 years) and 26 healthy subjects without history of CAD (11M, 15F, mean age 56.1 +/- 4.4 years) underwent MRI of the right coronary artery (RCA) and vessel wall (MR-CVW) on a clinical 1.5T MR-scanner. Wall thickness measurements of both groups were compared. Principal Findings: Stenoses of the RCA (both < and >= 50% on CAG) were present in all patients. In 21/22 patients, stenoses detected at MRI corresponded to stenoses detected with conventional angiography. In 19/26 asymptomatic subjects, there was visible luminal narrowing in the MR luminography images. Fourteen of these subjects demonstrated corresponding increase in vessel wall thickness. In 4/26 asymptomatic subjects, vessel wall thickening without luminal narrowing was present. Maximum and mean wall thicknesses in patients were significantly higher (2.16 vs 1.92 mm, and 1.38 vs 1.22 mm, both p < 0.05). Conclusions: In this cohort of middle-aged individuals, both patients with stable angina and angiographically proven coronary artery disease, as well as age-matched asymptomatic subjects. exhibited coronary vessel wall thickening detectable with MR coronary vessel wall imaging. Maximum and mean wall thicknesses were significantly higher in patients. The vast majority of asymptomatic subjects had either positive remodeling without luminal narrowing, or non-significant stenosis.
Gerretsen, S. C., Kooi, M. E., Kessels, A. G., Schalla, S., Katoh, M., van der Geest, R. J., Manning, W. J., Waltenberger, J. L., van Engelshoven, J. M. A., Botnar, R. M., & Leiner, T. (2010). Visualization of Coronary Wall Atherosclerosis in Asymptomatic Subjects and Patients with Coronary Artery Disease Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. PLOS ONE, 5(9), [e12998]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012998