The aim of the study is examine the impact of non-obstructive (<50%stenosis) left main (LM) disease on the natural history of coronary artery disease using serial coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA).
CTAs from the PARADIGM (Progression of atherosclerotic plaque determined by computed tomographic angiography imaging) study, a prospective multinational registry of patients who underwent serial CTA at a ≥2 year interval were analyzed. Those without evidence of CAD on their baseline scan were excluded, as were those with obstructive left main disease. Coronary artery vessels and their branches underwent quantification of: plaque volume and composition; diameter stenosis; presence of high-risk plaque.
Of 944 (62 ± 9 years, 60% male) who had evidence of CAD at baseline, 444 (47%) had LM disease. Those with LM disease had a higher baseline plaque volume (194.8 ± 221mm3 versus 72.9 ± 84.3mm3, p < 0.001) and a higher prevalence of high-risk plaque (17.5% versus 13%, p < 0.001) than those without LM disease. On multivariable general linear model, patients with LM disease had greater annual rates of progression of total (26.5 ± 31.4mm3/yr versus 14.9 ± 20.1mm3/yr, p < 0.001) and calcified plaque volume (17 ± 24mm3/yr versus 7 ± 11mm3/yr, p < 0.001), with no difference in fibrous, fibrofatty or necrotic core plaque components.
The presence of non-obstructive LM disease is associated with greater rates of plaque progression and a higher prevalence of high-risk plaque throughout the entire coronary artery tree compared to CAD without LM involvement. Our data suggests that non-obstructive LM disease may be a marker for an aggressive phenotype of CAD that may benefit from more intensive treatment strategies.