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Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque (plak) builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Atherosclerosis is therefore a syndrome affecting arterial blood vessels due to a chronic inflammatory response of WBCs in the walls of arteries. This is promoted by low-density lipoproteins without adequate removal of fats and cholesterol from the macrophages by functional high-density lipoproteins (HDL). It is commonly referred to as a "hardening" or furring of the arteries. It is caused by the formation of multiple atheromatous plaques within the arteries.
The plaque is divided into three distinct components:
1. The atheroma , which is the nodular accumulation of a soft, flaky, yellowish material at the center of large plaques, composed of macrophages nearest the lumen of the artery
2. Underlying areas of cholesterol crystals
3. Calcification at the outer base of older or more advanced lesions.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease that remains asymptomatic for decades. Atherosclerotic lesions, or atherosclerotic plaques, are separated into two broad categories: Stable and unstable (also called vulnerable). The pathobiology of atherosclerotic lesions is very complicated but generally, stable atherosclerotic plaques, which tend to be asymptomatic, are rich in extracellular matrix and smooth muscle cells, while, unstable plaques are rich in macrophages and foam cells and the extracellular matrix separating the lesion from the arterial lumen (also known as the fibrous cap) is usually weak and prone to rupture. Ruptures of the fibrous cap expose thrombogenic material, such as collagen, to the circulation and eventually induce thrombus formation in the lumen. Upon formation, intraluminal thrombi can occlude arteries outright (e.g. coronary occlusion), but more often they detach, move into the circulation and eventually occluding smaller downstream branches causing thromboembolism. Apart from thromboembolism, chronically expanding atherosclerotic lesions can cause complete closure of the lumen. Chronically expanding lesions are often asymptomatic until lumen stenosis is so severe that blood supply to downstream tissue is insufficient, resulting in ischemia.
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Scope and Importance
Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD) is a specific form of arteriosclerosis in which an artery wall thickens as a result of invasion and accumulation of white blood cells (WBCs). The accumulation of the WBCs is termed "fatty streaks" early on because of appearance being similar to that of marbled steak. These accumulations contain both living, active WBCs (producing inflammation) and remnants of dead cells, including cholesterol andtriglycerides. The remnants eventually include calcium and other crystallized materials, within the outer-most and oldest plaque. The "fatty streaks" reduce the elasticity of the artery walls. However, they do not affect blood flow for decades, because the artery muscular wall enlarges at the locations of plaque. The wall stiffening may eventually increase pulse pressure; widened pulse pressure is one possible result of advanced disease within the major arteries.
These complications of advanced atherosclerosis are chronic, slowly progressive and cumulative. Most commonly, soft plaque suddenly ruptures, causing the formation of a thrombus that will rapidly slow or stop blood flow, leading to death of the tissues fed by the artery in approximately five minutes. This catastrophic event is called aninfarction. One of the most common recognized scenarios is called coronary thrombosis of a coronary artery, causing myocardial infarction. The same process in an artery to the brain is commonly called stroke. Another common scenario in very advanced disease is claudication from insufficient blood supply to the legs. Atherosclerosis affects the entire artery tree, but mostly larger, high-pressure vessels such as the coronary, renal, femoral, cerebral, and carotid arteries. These are termed "clinically silent" because the person having the infarction does not notice the problem and does not seek medical help, or when they do, physicians do not recognize what has happened.
While atherosclerosis has traditionally been divided into three types of disease, coronary artery or coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), it is now clear that atherosclerosis is a systemic disease caused by the same pathologic processes regardless of the vascular bed involved. The burden of disease is enormous both in the US and around the world with 61,800,000 Americans affected with one or more types of CVD, responsible for 958,775 deaths annually at a cost of approximately US 329.2 billion dollars annually. Despite trends of decreasing cardiovascular mortality, the global burden of cardiovascular disease is expected to rise, with CHD and stroke becoming the first and fourth most common causes of mortality and morbidity globally. Atherosclerosis is a multibed process with a substantial portion of patients afflicted with disease in more than one bed, although often assymptomatic. Now that there are multiple therapies available to modify and treat atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic risk factors, identification and treatment of these patients are important since their leading cause of death is from co-existing cardiovascular disease.
6th Cardiology Conference
November 30-December 02, 2015 San Antonio, USA
July 14-15, 2016 Brisbane, Australia
Cardio Vascular Medicine Conference
April 4-6, 2016 Philadelphia, USA
June 6-7, 2016 London, UK
7th World Cardiothoracic Conference
March 29-30, 2016 Atlanta, USA
Ischemic Heart Diseases Conference
May 12-13, 2016 Chicago, USA
July 11-12, 2016 Philadelphia, USA
Hypertension & Treatment Conference
August 04-06, 2016 Toronto, Canada
10th Interventional Cardiology Conference
October 20-22, 2016 Rome, Italy
11th Cardiac Conference
October 06-08, 2016 Vancouver, Canada
12th World Cardiology Conference
October 10-12, 2016 Manchester, UK
13th European Cardiology Congress
October 24-26, 2016 Valencia, Spain
Cardiovascular Imaging Conference
November 10-12, 2016 Istanbul, Turkey
December 08-10, 2016 San Antonio, USA
BIT`s 6th International Congress of Cardiology (ICC-2014)
2015 American Society of Hypertension (ASH) Annual Scientific Meeting
CI Meeting 2015 - Innovations in Cardiovascular Interventions
ACC.15 - The American College of Cardiology 64th Annual Scientific Session & Expo
7th Annual Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Review 2015
Emergencies in Primary Care 2015
14th Annual Emergency Radiology Symposium 2014
18th International Conference on Cardiovascular System and Heart Health
International Conference for Innovations in Cardiovascular Systems (ICI2015)
15th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology
World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health
List of Associations
1. American Heart Association
2. British Cardiac Patients Association
3. Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia
4. British Society of Echocardiography
5. American Society of Echocardiography
6. Canadian Society of Echocardiography
7. Canadian Cardiovascular Society
8. Austin Area Echo Society
9. The Iranian Society of Echocardiography
10. British Heart Foundation
11. Children’s Heart Foundation
12. The German Society of Cardiologists
13. Association for European Paediatric Cardiology
14. German Cardiac Society
15. European Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesiologists (EACTA)
16. European Society for Cardio-Vascular Surgery
17. Heart Failure Society of America
18. American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN)
19. Association for European Paediatric Cardiology
20. European Heart Rhythm Association
List of Companies
1. Accellent Inc., USA
2. Admedes Schuessler GmbH, Germany
3. AorTech International plc, USA (Multinational)
4. Arbor Surgical Technologies, Inc. USA
5. ATS Medical, Inc. USA
6. AutoTissue GmbH ,Germany
7. Boston Scientific Corporation, USA
8. CarboMedics Inc. Italy (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States.)
9. Cardiac Dimensions Inc. USA , Germany , Australia
10. Cardiosolutions, Inc.,USA
12. Vasomedical, Inc.
15. Cardiac Dimensions
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This page was last updated on May 25, 2020