Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis

Joseph L. Blackshear and Birgit Kantor

in Mayo Clinic Cardiology

Fourth edition

Published on behalf of © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199915712
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322824 | DOI:

Series: Mayo Clinic Scientific Press

Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis

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Atherosclerosis is a disease primarily involving pathologic changes in the intima, with reactive changes in the media and adventitia. The prevalence of atherosclerotic lesions is highest in the abdominal aorta, coronary arteries, femoropopliteal arteries, internal carotid arteries, and vertebrobasilar arterial regions. Some arteries, such as the internal mammary artery or the radial artery, are rarely or never affected by atherosclerosis. Major independent risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis include elevated plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-C, cigarette smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, advancing age, low plasma concentrations of HDL-C, and a family history of premature coronary artery disease. The consensus pathogenetic explanation for the development of atherosclerosis is that cumulative exposure to risk factors over many years results in a cycle or series of episodes of cyclical injury and repair, which culminate in clinical events, including acute coronary thrombotic syndromes, angina, intermittent claudication or acute arterial occlusion, ischemic stroke, and development and rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Chapter.  6219 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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