Gianluca Rigatelli, Marco Zuin, Tra T. Ngo, Hung T. Nguyen, Aravinda Nanjundappa, Ernest Talarico, Le Cao Phuong Duy and Thach Nguyen
Background and Objectives
Significant rather than moderate coronary artery stenosis has been postulated to be the main substrate of plaque rupture in acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We evaluate if cavitation could influence the coronary artery plaque rupture contributing to the progression of thrombotic process.
We reconstructed a 3D model of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) after reviewing the intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) data of 30 consecutive patients with mild to severe coronary artery disease.
Turbulent flow or cavitation occurs in both concentric and eccentric coronary artery stenosis (≥ 75% for the former and ≥ 50% for the latter). The analysis of vapor phase demonstrated that cavitation propagated downstream, creating microbubbles, which exploded when the fluid pressure was lower than the vapor pressure at a local thermodynamic state. The relative higher vorticity magnitude (as turbulent flow in vivo angiogram) observed on the distal cap of the atherosclerotic plaque created a higher turbulence, probably able to destabilize the plaque through a micro-erosion process.
Cavitation seems to be able to promote the thrombotic occlusion within the coronary vessels due the ‘constant injuries’ created by the micro-explosion of bubbles.