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Pasterkamp C, Falk E  
Atherosclerotic plaque rupture: an overview

Journal of Clinical and Basic Cardiology 2000; 3 (2): 81-86

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Fig. 1A-B: Plaqueverteilung und Thrombose

Keywords: AtheroskleroseKoronare HerzkrankheitPlaquerupturremodellingatherosclerosiscoronary artery diseaseplaque ruptureremodelling

Atherosclerotic luminal narrowing is determined by plaque mass and local change in vessel size (remodeling). Regardless of its size, a plaque may rupture with high risk of subsequent thrombus-mediated acute clinical events such as myocardial infarction and stroke. The risk of plaque rupture depends more on plaque type than on plaque size or stenosis severity. Major determinants of a plaque's vulnerability to rupture are: 1) size and consistency of the lipid-rich atheromatous core; 2) thickness of the fibrous cap covering the core; and 3) ongoing inflammation and repair within the cap. Plaque disruption tends to occur at points where the plaque surface is weakest and most vulnerable which coincide with points where stresses, resulting from biomechanical and haemodynamic forces acting on plaques, are concentrated. Therefore, both plaque vulnerability (intrinsic disease) and rupture triggers (extrinsic forces) are important for plaque disruption. The former predisposes the plaque to rupture while the latter may precipitate it. The resultant thrombotic response determines the clinical presentation and the outcome. J Clin Basic Cardiol 2000; 3: 81?6.
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