Methodist Hospitals Announces Enrollment of First Participants in Major International Study on Predicting Patients at Increased Risk of Heart Attacks - July 30, 2014

Methodist Hospitals is one of 100 international sites participating in this major research initiative, and is the first site in Indiana to begin enrolling some of the study’s 9,000 participants.

Methodist Hospitals announced the enrollment of the first participants in the Lipid-Rich Plaque (LRP) Study, a large-scale, multi-center, international study aimed at linking the presence of LRP, a type of fatty coronary artery plaque, to the occurrence of a cardiac event, such as a heart attack. LRP is implicated in most heart attacks and will be identified in study participants using an intravascular imaging technology known as the TVC Imaging System™.

“As one of the nation’s leaders in cardiovascular medicine, Methodist Hospitals is proud to be involved in a cutting-edge research effort that could advance our understanding and management of coronary artery disease,” said Andre Artis, M.D., Codirector of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Methodist Hospitals. “The findings from the LRP Study could show that patients with LRP are more prone to experiencing a major adverse cardiac event, and that knowledge could help inform our decision of how and when to use drugs and/or interventional treatments like angioplasty to improve patient outcomes.”

LRP and other coronary artery plaque is caused by the build-up of cholesterol and other materials inside the walls of the coronary arteries. Over time, the accumulation of plaque can gradually reduce blood supply to the heart, leading to chest pain during exertion. In addition, the plaque may also rupture, which can lead to a blood clot that causes a heart attack or sudden death. Intravascular imaging using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and enhanced intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is currently used at Methodist Hospitals to assess the structure and composition of plaque from within the heart’s blood vessels, and to guide the interventional treatment for better procedural outcomes.

The LRP Study, which launched in October 2013, will use NIRS-IVUS imaging to identify patients with LRP, and monitor these patients for two years for the incidence of a major adverse cardiac event. The study will initially focus on validating the ability of NIRS-IVUS intravascular imaging to predict coronary events, including heart attacks. If and when that goal is achieved, the study will transition