Positive Remodeling – a Major Feature of Vulnerability in Patients with Non- Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease

DOI: 10.2478/jim-2021-0005


The most common cause of acute coronary syndrome is thrombosis of an atheromatous plaque. The positive remodeling is the compensatory dilatation of the plaque-containing section of the vessel wall. Plaques are most commonly characterized as vulnerable when possessing some of the following features: fibrous cap thickness <65 μm, large necrotic lipid core, high degrees of inflammatory infiltrates, positive remodeling, intraplaque hemorrhage, or neoangiogenesis. The presence of these plaque features is associated with high cardiovascular risk. In the initial stage of vasculopathy, due to positive remodeling, lumen reduction is not typical. It only develops in the advanced phase of the disease, due to which, based on a lumenogram, the vascular system may appear intact. Therefore, coronary angiography can easily miss the diagnosis or underestimate its extent, since it does not inform us of the composition of the arterial wall, because the contrast agent is just filling the vessel lumen. Coronary CT-angiography may fill this diagnostic gap, since changes of the vessel wall can directly be visualized. To increase diagnostic accuracy, invasive coronary angiography can be completed by intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography.