Statin treatment is associated with reduced thermal heterogeneity in human atherosclerotic plaques Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS:Heat released from atherosclerotic plaques as a result of the local inflammatory process, may be measured in vivo by a thermography catheter. Statins seem to have an antiinflammatory effect which results in plaque stabilization. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of statins on plaque temperature. METHODS AND RESULTS:The study population included 72 patients: 21 with effort angina, 32 with unstable angina and 19 with acute myocardial infarction. In the study group, 37 patients received statins for more than 4 weeks and 35 were not receiving statins. We measured the temperature difference (deltaT) between the atherosclerotic plaque and the proximal vessel wall (background temperature) using a thermography catheter. The statistical analysis showed that the mean value of deltaT was higher in the untreated group compared to the treated-with-statin, group (0.56+/-0.41 vs 0.29+/-0.33 degrees C, P<0.01). Moreover, a progressive increase in deltaT by type of clinical syndrome was observed in both groups (statin group; effort angina: 0.24+/-0.15, unstable angina: 0.26+/-0.26, acute myocardial infarction: 0.40+/-0.28, vs untreated group; effort angina: 0.41+/-0.26, unstable angina: 0.44+/-0.28, acute myocardial infarction: 0.84+/-0.52, P<0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that treatment with statins was an independent factor in temperature variation, after taking into account the effect of the clinical syndrome (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS:Patients on statin treatment produce less heat from the culprit coronary lesion than those not treated. Thus, statins seem to have a favourable effect on heat release from atherosclerotic plaques, and whether this effect has an impact on plaque stabilization needs to be investigated in future studies.

publication date

  • November 1, 2002