How does calcification influence plaque vulnerability? Insights from fatigue analysis.

03 Oct 2017

BACKGROUND: Calcification is commonly believed to be associated with cardiovascular disease burden. But whether or not the calcifications have a negative effect on plaque vulnerability is still under debate. METHODS AND RESULTS: Fatigue rupture analysis and the fatigue life were used to evaluate the rupture risk. An idealized baseline model containing no calcification was first built. Based on the baseline model, we investigated the influence of calcification on rupture path and fatigue life by adding a circular calcification and changing its location within the fibrous cap area. Results show that 84.0% of calcified cases increase the fatigue life up to 11.4%. For rupture paths 10D far from the calcification, the life change is negligible. Calcifications close to lumen increase more fatigue life than those close to the lipid pool. Also, calcifications in the middle area of fibrous cap increase more fatigue life than those in the shoulder area. CONCLUSION: Calcifications may play a positive role in the plaque stability. The influence of the calcification only exists in a local area. Calcifications close to lumen may be influenced more than those close to lipid pool. And calcifications in the middle area of fibrous cap are seemly influenced more than those in the shoulder area.