Author(s): Koyama J, Tamai J, Kawano S, Daikoku S, Yamagishi M
Coronary vasospasm is manifested by either focal or diffuse pattern in clinical settings. To examine the differences in vessel wall morphologic appearance between the sites of focal and diffuse vasospasm, we studied 29 patients with chest pain at rest, during exertion, or both by intravascular ultrasound. By angiography, focal vasospasm with diameter reduction of 90% ± 3% (mean ± SD) was provoked by intracoronary ergonovine (0.01 to 0.04 mg) in 15 patients. Diffuse vasospasm with diameter reduction of 79% ± 5% (NS) was provoked in seven patients, and the remaining seven patients served as the control group. By ultrasonography, a significantly thickened intimal leading edge with sonolucent zone was observed in 55 sites from 22 coronary arteries with either focal or diffuse vasospasm (0.61 ± 0.32 mm), although these sites were normal or minimally narrowed by angiography. Seven segments from the control group exhibited a thin intimai leading edge with sonolucent zone (0.23 ± 0.08 mm, p < 0.01). When the thickness of the intimal leading edge with sonolucent zone was compared between the abnormal sites with focal and diffuse vasospasm, this was significantly greater at focal spasm, 1.01 ± 0.35 mm (n = 15), than that at diffuse spasm, 0.46 ± 0.13 mm (n = 40, p < 0.01). At the sites with diffuse spasm, some of the lesions lay scattered along the coronary vessels, although the lesions were localized at the sites of focal vasospasm. These results indicate that atherosclerosis is present at sites with both focal and diffuse vasospasm even in the absence of angiographically significant coronary artery disease. We suggest that the differences in severity of underlying atherosclerosis, disease distribution, or both can be related to the pattern of vasospasm in clinical settings.