Cigarette Smoking Causes Acute Changes in Arterial Wall Mechanics and the Pattern of Arterial Blood Flow in Healthy Subjects: Possible Insight into Mechanisms of Atherogenesis

  • Colin G. Caro
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 273)


Cigarette smoking is widely believed to increase the extent and severity of atherosclerosis, but the underlying mechanisms have not been delineated (1–5). There are changes in the plasma lipids and the rheology of the blood in smokers, but these are unable fully to account for atherosclerosis, in particular its focal distribution in the circulation. Atherosclerosis principally affects the intima of thick-walled arteries and within these vessels’ regions of branching and curvature. There is evidence consistent with the view that the mass transport properties of the walls of blood vessels and the blood flow pattern determine this distribution. We consider the mechanisms and report acute changes we have found in arterial wall mechanics and arterial blood flow in healthy human subjects after smoking cigarettes. These changes may help explain the association between smoking and other factors and atherosclerosis.


Wall Shear Stress Pulsatility Index Superficial Femoral Artery Blood Velocity Arterial Blood Flow 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin G. Caro
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Biological and Medical SystemsImperial College of Science, Technology and MedicineLondonUK

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