ABSTRACT: Inflammation and biomechanical factors have been associated with the development of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. Lipid-lowering therapy has been shown to be effective in stabilizing them by reducing plaque inflammation. Its effect on arterial wall strain, however, remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of high- and low-dose lipid-lowering therapy using an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, atorvastatin, on arterial wall strain.
Forty patients with carotid stenosis >40% were successfully followed up during the Atorvastatin Therapy: Effects on Reduction Of Macrophage Activity (ATHEROMA; ISRCTN64894118) Trial. All patients had plaque inflammation as shown by intraplaque accumulation of ultrasmall super paramagnetic particles of iron oxide on magnetic resonance imaging at baseline. Structural analysis was performed and change of strain was compared between high- and low-dose statin at 0 and 12 weeks. There was no significant difference in strain between the 2 groups at baseline (P = 0.6). At 12 weeks, the maximum strain was significantly lower in the 80-mg group than in the 10-mg group (0.0850.033 vs. 0.1690.084; P = 0.001). A significant reduction (26%) of maximum strain was observed in the 80-mg group at 12 weeks (0.0180.02; P = 0.01).
Aggressive lipid-lowering therapy is associated with a significant reduction in arterial wall strain. The reduction in biomechanical strain may be associated with reductions in plaque inflammatory burden.
Circulation Journal 05/2011; 75(6):1486-92. · 3.77 Impact Factor