Combined Intracoronary Assessment and Treatment of a Patient with Coronary Plaque Rapid Progression Prior to Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Case Report

RATIONAL:

Plaque rapid progression prior to acute myocardial infarction is not a common phenomenon, and its mechanism remains unknown. Intracoronary imaging may help to assess the plaque characteristics and progression.

PATIENT CONCERN:

A 37-year-old male patient suffered an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) 1 month after the diagnosis of a mildly stenosed coronary artery. Intracoronary imaging was done to seek the underlying causes and guide further treatment.

DIAGNOSIS:

Two coronary angiograms in 1 month showed plaque rapid progressing prior to the AMI. Intracoronary optical coherence tomography (OCT) post-AMI showed plaque erosion and heavy burden of thrombus.

INTERVENTION:

The patient was advised to defer stent deployment. The patient was then given intensified antithrombotic therapy. Three weeks later, OCT imaging revealed enough lumen area and the intact endothelium without remaining thrombus. Fractional flow reverse (FFR) showed no functional ischemia. Dual-antiplatelet therapy without stenting was recommended for 12 months.

OUTCOMES:

The 6-month follow-up showed good recovery and normal cardiac function.

LESSONS:

First, for patients with mild coronary stenosis and typical angina symptoms, further intracoronary assessment should be performed. Second, OCT can not only help to determine the plaque characteristics but can also help to develop patient-tailored strategies for AMI patients.