Pathophysiology of Vascular Disease

  • Christopher K. Zarins
  • Seymour Glagov


Vascular disease is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in Western civilization. Its manifestations include heart attacks, strokes, lower extremity occlusive disease, and aneurysmal disease, and its predominant underlying cause is atherosclerosis. Although atherosclerosis is a generalized disorder of the arterial tree associated with well-known risk factors—including hyperlipidemia, hypertension, cigarette smoking, and diabetes mellitus—its clinical expression tends to be focal. Not all individuals with extensive risk factors develop atherosclerotic plaques, and many patients with extensive atherosclerotic plaques have no recognized risk factors. Moreover, morbidity and mortality usually result from localized plaque deposition at certain vulnerable sites in the arterial tree rather than from diffuse disease. For example, the carotid arteries, coronary arteries, and lower extremity arteries are particularly susceptible to plaque formation, whereas the upper extremity arteries are rarely involved. Some arteries with small plaques may become occluded, whereas other arteries with large and extensive plaques may retain a normal lumen caliber. Still others may become aneurysmally enlarged.


Wall Shear Stress Aortic Wall Plaque Formation Pulsatile Flow Artery Wall 
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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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher K. Zarins
  • Seymour Glagov

There are no affiliations available

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