Association of Serum Lipoprotein (a) Levels and Coronary Atheroma Volume by Intravascular Ultrasound

Chetan P. Huded, Nishant P. Shah, Rishi Puri, Stephen J. Nicholls, Kathy Wolski, Steven E. Nissen, Leslie Cho

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Background Lp(a) (lipoprotein (a)) is a risk factor for cardiovascular events, but the mechanism of increased risk is uncertain. This study evaluated the relationship between Lp(a) and coronary atheroma volume by intravascular ultrasound. Methods and Results This was a post hoc analysis of 6 randomized trials of coronary atheroma by intravascular ultrasound. The population was stratified into high (≥60 mg/dL) and low (<60 mg/dL) baseline serum Lp(a). The primary outcome was baseline coronary percent atheroma volume. A mixed model adjusted for baseline low density lipoprotein, ApoB (apoliporotein B100), non-high density lipoprotein, sex, age, race, history of myocardial infarction, statin use, and intravascular ultrasound study was used to provide estimates of baseline plaque burden. Of 3943 patients, 17.3% (683) had Lp(a) ≥ 60 mg/dL and 82.7% (3260) had Lp(a) < 60 mg/dL. At baseline, uncorrected low density lipoprotein level (107.7 ± 32.0 versus 99.1 ± 31.5) and statin therapy (99.0% versus 97.0%) were higher in patients with high Lp(a) levels, but low density lipoprotein corrected for Lp(a) was lower (80.6 ± 32.0 versus 94.0 ± 31.4) in patients with high Lp(a) levels. Percent atheroma volume was significantly higher in the high Lp(a) group in unadjusted (38.2% [32.8, 43.6] versus 37.1% [31.4, 43.1], P=0.01) and risk-adjusted analyses (38.7%±0.5 versus 37.5%±0.5, P<0.001). There was a significant association of increasing risk-adjusted percent atheroma volume across quintiles of Lp(a) (Lp(a) quintiles 1-5; 37.3 ± 0.5%, 37.2 ± 0.5%, 37.3 ± 0.5%, 38.0 ± 0.5%, 38.5 ± 0.5%, P=0.002). Conclusions Elevated Lp(a) is independently associated with increased percent atheroma volume. Further work is needed to clarify the relationship of Lp(a)-lowering treatment with cardiovascular outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e018023
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • atheroma
  • intravascular ultrasound
  • lipids
  • lipoprotein (a)
  • prevention

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