The association between right coronary artery morphology and endothelial function

Yaron Arbel, Danny Dvir, Micha S. Feinberg, Roy Beigel, Michael Shechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Two distinct right coronary artery (RCA) morphologies have been previously described: sigma- and C-shaped RCAs. While the C-shaped RCA was significantly associated with atherosclerosis, the sigma-shaped was not. The association of RCA morphology and vascular endothelial function has not yet been assessed. Methods: To evaluate the association between the RCA's morphology and flow-mediated endothelium-dependent dilation (FMD) in patients without evidence of atherosclerotic lesions, we prospectively assessed FMD in 49 consecutive patients with non-specific chest pain, who were referred to our laboratory 30 ± 10 days after corroboration of normal coronary arteries on coronary angiography. Endothelium-dependent brachial artery FMD and endothelium-independent nitroglycerin-mediated vasodilation (NTG) were assessed using high resolution (15 MHz) linear array ultrasound. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to their RCA morphology on coronary angiograms (sigma and C) which were analyzed by 2 independent readers who were blinded to the patients' FMD results. Results: The C-shaped group exhibited a significantly lower FMD compared to the sigma-shaped group (9.0 ± 4.2% vs. 14.3 ± 4.7%, p < 0.04, respectively), while NTG was the same in both groups. There were no significant group differences in other variables. Conclusions: Endothelium-dependent FMD in the brachial artery is significantly greater in sigma- compared to C-shaped RCA in coronary arteries without overt atherosclerotic lesions, suggesting a potential mechanism whereby C-shaped RCA are predisposed to atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Endothelium


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