29 July 2020
Introduction: The progression and pattern of coronary atherosclerosis in diabetes mellitus (DM) is different from non-DM, leading to a higher rate of vascular complications in DM. Objective: This study aims to assess and compare the high-risk plaque characteristics in the culprit artery of DM and non-DM patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) using virtual histology intravascular ultrasound (VH-IVUS). Methods: A total of 158 ACS patients were included, 63 of whom were known to have DM. IVUS analysis was done in the de novo target vessel and culprit lesion for which percutaneous coronary intervention was planned. Culprit lesions with a visual-estimate angiographic stenosis of <70% were excluded. Results: The mean age of patients was 52.4 ± 11.6 years. The study group comprised 82% men, 31% with hypertension, and 39.87% with DM. No significant difference was observed between the DM and non-DM groups in relation to quantitative IVUS parameters like lesion length, minimal lumen area, and plaque area. However, there was a significant difference in VH-IVUS parameters like higher necrotic core and dense calcium in the DM patients than in the non-DM patients ( p < 0.01). The occurrence of VH-derived thin-cap fibroatheroma (VH-TCFA) in the culprit vessel was significantly higher in the DM group than in the non-DM group (25.3 vs. 5.2%; p < 0.01). Positive vessel-wall remodeling was noted in both groups without any significant difference ( p = 0.74). Conclusion: The DM patients had high-risk plaque composition features like a higher necrotic core, which is a marker of plaque vulnerability. Thus, aggressive medical therapy targeting vascular inflammation using high-dose statins would help in the stabilization of unstable plaque morphology and the reduction of major cardiovascular events.