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Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2010 Aug;4(4):249-75. doi: 10.1177/1753944710375780.

Antiplatelet therapy and vascular disease: an update.

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  • 1Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Cardiovascular Intervention Center, 8631 W Third Street, Room 415E, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.


Atherosclerosis is a diffuse, systemic disorder of the large and medium-sized arterial vessels, affecting the coronary, cerebral and peripheral circulation. Chronic inflammatory processes are the central pathophysiological mechanism largely driven by lipid accumulation, and provide the substrate for occlusive thrombus formation. The clinical sequelae of acute arterial thrombosis, heart attack and stroke, are the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world. Such acute events are characterized by rupture or erosion of the atherosclerotic plaque leading to acute thrombosis. The atherosclerotic process and associated thrombotic complications are collectively termed atherothrombosis. The platelet is a pivotal mediator of various endothelial, immune, thrombotic and inflammatory responses and therefore a key player in the initiation and progression of atherothrombosis. A robust evidence base supports the clear clinical benefits of antiplatelet agents in the primary and secondary therapy of atherothrombotic disorders. Percutaneous coronary and peripheral interventions have an established central role in the management of atherothrombotic disease and demand a greater understanding of platelet biology. In this article, we provide a clinically orientated overview of the pathophysiology of arterial thrombosis and the evidence supporting the use of the various established antiplatelet therapies, and discuss new and future agents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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