Ex vivo comparison of angioscopy and histopathology for the evaluation of coronary plaque characteristics

Masahiko Shibuya, Kenichi Fujii, Hiroyuki Hao, Takahiro Imanaka, Masashi Fukunaga, Kojiro Miki, Hiroto Tamaru, Tsuyoshi Nakata, Hisashi Sawada, Yoshiro Naito, Seiichi Hirota, Tohru Masuyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The yellow plaque has been considered to be a vulnerable and high risk for acute coronary syndrome events but not fully evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between angioscopic color grade and histological features in coronary autopsy specimens. We longitudinally sectioned 110 coronary arteries from 40 autopsy hearts with non-cardiovascular death. Harvested arteries were imaged with intravascular ultrasound to identify the focal plaque (plaque burden >50 %). An angioscopic examination of each focal plaque evaluated its color intensity as follows: 0 (white), 1 (light yellow), 2 (yellow), or 3 (dark yellow). The corresponding histological assessment was classified according to a modified version of the American Heart Association classification of atherosclerosis. Two hundred six plaques were matched to the histological analysis. Of these, 82 (40 %) were categorized as yellow (≥grade 1). Although, yellow plaque often includes thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA), the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and overall diagnostic accuracy for histological TCFA were 83, 91, 22, 99 and 91 %, respectively. The false-positive coronary angioscopic diagnoses for TCFA that contributed to the low positive predictive value consisted of the following plaques: thick FA (>65 μm), accumulations of large quantities of foam cells on the luminal surface, or dense calcified plates at the surface of the intima. Vulnerable coronary plaques were detected with high sensitivity and low positive predictive value from their yellow color on angioscopy. Not only fibroatheroma but also various types of plaques and their components, such as immature lipidic components and superficial calcium plates, appeared yellow on coronary angioscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-869
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Coronary angioscopy
  • Histopathology
  • Vulnerable plaque
  • Yellow plaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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