Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Elliot J. RothEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2159


Arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD; Atheromatous plaque; Hardening of the arteries


Atherosclerosis is the progressive pathological process of buildup of plaque inside the blood vessels, resulting in blockage of blood flow through the vessels.

Current Knowledge

The plaque that causes atherosclerosis is comprised of fatty substances, cholesterol, cells, calcium, and fibrin, a stringy material found normally in the blood to help clot the blood. The plaque formation process stimulates the cells of the artery wall to produce substances that then accumulate in the vessel wall. Fat builds up within these cells and around them, and they form connective tissue and calcium. The artery wall thickens, the artery’s diameter is reduced, and blood flow and oxygen delivery are decreased. Plaques can rupture or crack open, causing the sudden formation of a blood clot (thrombosis). Atherosclerosis can cause angina or myocardial infarction if it blocks the blood flow in the...

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References and Readings

  1. Stary, H. C., Chandler, A. B., Dinsmore, R. E., Fuster, V., Glagov, S., Insull, W., et al. (1995). A definition of advanced types of atherosclerotic lesions and a histological classification of atherosclerosis: A report from the Committee on Vascular Lesions of the Council on Arteriosclerosis, American Heart Association. Circulation, 92, 1355–1374.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA