What are the signs and symptoms of noncoronary atherosclerosis?

Updated: Dec 23, 2019
  • Author: F Brian Boudi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, FACC, FACP, MSCI  more...
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The signs and symptoms of noncoronary atherosclerosis are highly variable. Patients with mild atherosclerosis may present with clinically important symptoms and signs of disease. However, many patients with anatomically advanced disease may have no symptoms and experience no functional impairment.

Signs and symptoms of noncoronary atherosclerosis that affect different organ systems include the following:

  • Central nervous system: Stroke, reversible ischemic neurologic deficit, transient ischemic attack

  • Peripheral vascular system: Intermittent claudication, impotence, nonhealing ulceration and infection of the extremities

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) vascular system: Mesenteric angina characterized by epigastric or periumbilical postprandial pain—may be associated with hematemesis, hematochezia, melena, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, and weight loss; abdominal aortic aneurysm that is typically asymptomatic (sometimes pulsatile) until the dramatic, and often fatal, signs and symptoms of rupture

  • Target organ failure: Occult or symptomatic visceral ischemia

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