Plaque Composition in the Proximal Superficial Femoral Artery and Peripheral Artery Disease Events

Mary M. McDermott*, Christopher M. Kramer, Lu Tian, James Carr, Jack M. Guralnik, Tamar Polonsky, Timothy Carroll, Melina Kibbe, Michael H. Criqui, Luigi Ferrucci, Lihui Zhao, Daniel S. Hippe, John Wilkins, Dongxiang Xu, Yihua Liao, Walter McCarthy, Chun Yuan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives The aim of this study was to describe associations of the presence of lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC) in the proximal superficial femoral artery (SFA) with lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD) event rates and systemic cardiovascular event rates. Background LRNC in the coronary and carotid arteries is associated with adverse outcomes but has not been studied previously in lower extremity arteries. Methods Participants with ankle-brachial index (ABI) values <1.00 were identified from Chicago medical centers and followed annually. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to characterize SFA atherosclerotic plaque at baseline. Medical records for hospitalizations and procedures after baseline were adjudicated for lower extremity revascularization, amputation, and critical limb ischemia and also for new coronary events, ischemic stroke, and mortality. Results Of 254 participants with PAD, 62 (24%) had LRNC and 149 (59%) had calcium in the SFA at baseline. Cox regression analyses were adjusted for age, sex, race, comorbidities, baseline ABI, and other confounders. SFA LRNC was associated with an increased incidence of the combined outcome of lower extremity amputation, critical limb ischemia, ABI decline >0.15, and revascularization at 47-month follow-up (hazard ratio: 2.18; 95% confidence interval: 1.27 to 3.75; p = 0.005). The association of SFA LRNC with PAD events was maintained even when this combined outcome excluded lower extremity revascularization (hazard ratio: 2.58; 95% confidence interval: 1.25 to 5.33; p = 0.01). LRNC in the SFA was not associated with all-cause mortality, acute coronary events, or stroke. Conclusions Among patients with PAD, LRNC in the SFA was associated with higher rates of clinical PAD events, and this association was independent of ABI. Further study is needed to determine whether interventions that reduce SFA LRNC prevent PAD events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1012
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • MRI
  • femoral artery
  • lipid rich necrotic core
  • vascular medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Plaque Composition in the Proximal Superficial Femoral Artery and Peripheral Artery Disease Events'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this