Pathogenesis and Pathology of Ischemic Heart Disease Syndromes



The terms “arteriosclerosis” and “athero sclerosis”are often confused in descriptions of experimental and clinical arterial lesions. Arteriosclerosis is a general term implying arterial hardening without respect to a specific etiology, examples being atherosclerosis, Mönckeberg’s medial calcification, and arteriolosclerosis (small vessel disease) [1]. Atherosclerosis refers to a specific disease process characterized by the development of yellow, lipid-laden plaques. There are three pathological stages in such plaque development:
  1. 1.

    The fatty streak, which is a yellow, generally flat patch on the intima made up of accumulated lipid-containing smooth muscle cells. Commonly found in young individuals fatty streaks probably have no pathological significance in many cases.

  2. 2.

    The fibrous plaque, which is an intimai deposit of lipid-laden smooth muscle cells surrounded by collagen, elastic fibers, and extracellular lipid. Fibrous plaques may or may not arise from fatty streaks and can exist without causing significant obstruction of the vascular lumen.

  3. 3.

    The complex plaque, which is a fibrous plaque that has progressed to include calcification, hemorrhage, cell necrosis, an inflammatory reaction, and extension to the arterial media. Adventitial fibrosis and inflammation may be present.



Acute Myocardial Infarction Sudden Cardiac Death Lipid Research Clinic Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial Fibrous Plaque 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular DivisionBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.CardiologistGreen Lane HospitalAucklandNew Zealand

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