The Pathology of Atherosclerosis

  • M. P. Dunphy
  • H. W. Strauss


Atherosclerosis is an indolent, chronic arterial disease involving inflammation and thickening of the walls of medium- and large-sized vessels, with potentially-lethal sequelae. An atherosclerotic lesion is an accumulation of lipids and inflammatory cells, within the arterial wall, which becomes more complicated and extensive and deforms the involved artery, with time. Clinically-significant lesions of atherosclerosis typically become manifest after decades of growth and transformation; yet, not all lesions become symptomatic and many end by becoming calcified or fibrotic, with no clinical significance. Atherosclerotic lesions of the carotid arteries begin in infancy [19]. The arterial response that initiates atherosclerosis has not been definitively identified [63]. Yet the subsequent natural history of atherosclerosis has been well-characterized. The vascular burden of atherosclerosis increases in volume and extent, over decades, remaining clinically ‘silent’, while progressing through stages of developme with changes in the morphology and composition of lesions.


Positron Emission Tomography Down Syndrome Atherosclerotic Lesion Carotid Endarterectomy Carotid Stenosis 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Dunphy
    • 1
  • H. W. Strauss
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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