Yellow Arterial Plaque Predicts Risk of Coronary Events

Higher number of yellow plaques increases risk at least twofold

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with two or more yellow plaques per coronary artery have at least twice the risk of developing an acute coronary syndrome event as patients who have fewer or none of this type of plaque, according to a study in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Yasunori Ueda, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from Osaka Police Hospital in Japan, recorded the number of plaques in a coronary artery and gave them a yellow intensity grade on a scale from 1 to 3 in 552 patients undergoing angioscopy and then compared the data with new acute coronary syndrome events.

After a mean follow-up of 57.3 months, 7.1 percent of patients developed an acute coronary syndrome event. These patients had a significantly higher number of yellow plaques (mean of 3.1 versus 2.2), according to the study. Compared with patients with one or fewer yellow plaques, the event rates were 2.2-fold higher in patients with two or more yellow plaques and 3.8-fold higher in patients with five or more yellow plaques.

"Patients with multiple yellow plaques per vessel have a higher risk of suffering acute coronary syndrome events than those with [zero or one]," Ueda and colleagues conclude. "Angioscopy would be useful to detect vulnerable patients."

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