Coronary Plaque Types: Thin Cap Fibroatheroma, Healed Plaque, Calcified Plaque

  • Francesco Fracassi
  • Giampaolo Niccoli


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a recently developed intravascular catheter-based imaging technique able to visualize the coronary wall structures and coronary plaques with a definition similar to histology. According to the molecular composition, a coronary plaque will appear composed by structures of different signal intensity ranging from bright and lucent to fully dark aspect. Thin cap fibroatheroma is the prototype of coronary vulnerable plaque and is identified by a large lipid arc (more than 90°) covered by a fibrous cap <65 μm thick. The presence of multiple layers of different optical density identify at OCT healed plaques, lesions undergone several episodes of subclinical thrombosis and spontaneous healing. The presence of calcium generates at OCT observation low-signal areas with sharply demarcated borders.


Optical coherence tomography Thin cap fibroatheroma Coronary vulnerability Healed plaque Layered plaque Subclinical thrombosis Calcified plaque Eruptive calcified module Superficial calcific sheet Calcified protrusion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Fracassi
    • 1
  • Giampaolo Niccoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cardiology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Fondazione Policlinico Gemelli I.R.C.C.S.RomeItaly

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