What is the prognosis 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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Answer

Answer

The prognosis of atherosclerosis depends on a number of factors, including systemic burden of disease, the vascular bed(s) involved, and the degree of flow limitation. Wide variability exists, and clinicians appreciate that many patients with critical limitation of flow to vital organs may survive many years, despite a heavy burden of disease. (Conversely, myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac death may be the first clinical manifestation of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in a patient who is otherwise asymptomatic with minimal luminal stenosis and a light burden of disease.)

Much of this phenotypic variability is likely to be determined by the relative stability of the vascular plaque burden. Plaque rupture and exposure of the thrombogenic lipid core are critical events in the expression of the atherosclerotic disease process and determine the prognosis of atherosclerosis.

The ability to determine and quantify risk and prognosis in patients with atherosclerosis is limited by the inability to objectively measure plaque stability and other predictors of clinical events.


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