Intravascular ultrasound classification of plaque distribution in left main coronary artery bifurcations where is the plaque really located?

Carlos Oviedo, Akiko Maehara, Gary S. Mintz, Hiroshi Araki, So Yeon Choi, Kenichi Tsujita, Takashi Kubo, Hiroshi Doi, Barry Templin, Alexandra J. Lansky, George Dangas, Martin B. Leon, Roxana Mehran, Seung Jea Tahk, Gregg W. Stone, Masahiko Ochiai, Jeffrey W. Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Background:Angiographic classifications of the location and severity of disease in the main vessel and side branch of coronary artery bifurcations have been proposed and applied to distal left main coronary artery (LMCA) bifurcation. Methods and Results:We reviewed 140 angiograms of distal LMCA and ostial left anterior descending (LAD) and left circumflex (LCX) artery lesions with preintervention intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) of both the LAD and LCX arteries as well as the LMCA. Of 140 patients, 92.9% had at least 1 cross section with ≥40% IVUS plaque burden versus 57.2% of patients with an angiographic diameter stenosis ≥50%. Contrary to angiographic classifications, IVUS showed that bifurcation disease was rarely focal and that both sides of the flow divider were always disease-free. Continuous plaque from the LMCA into the proximal LAD artery was seen in 90%, from the LMCA into the LCX artery in 66.4%, and from the LMCA into both the LAD and LCX arteries in 62%. Plaque localized to either the LAD or LCX ostium and not involving the distal LMCA was seen in only 9.3% of LAD arteries and 17.1% of LCX arteries. Plaque distribution was not influenced by the LAD/LCX angiographic angle, lesion severity, LMCA length, or remodeling. We proposed an IVUS classification for bifurcation lesions illustrating longitudinal and circumferential spatial plaque distribution. Conclusions:Angiographic classification of LMCA bifurcation lesions is rarely accurate. IVUS shows that the carina is always spared and that the disease is diffuse rather than focal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary disease
  • Intravascular ultrasound
  • Left main coronary artery bifurcation disease
  • Plaque distribution


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