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Ann Vasc Surg. 1991 May;5(3):291-304.

The peripheral vascular consequences of smoking.

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Division of Vascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco.


Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk and extent of advanced atherosclerotic vascular disease in peripheral as well as coronary arteries. The likelihood of claudication, amputation, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and failure of vascular reconstruction is higher in smokers than nonsmokers. Smoking exerts its deleterious effects through many interactive mechanisms. Nicotine and carbon monoxide produce acute cardiovascular consequences, including altered myocardial performance, tachycardia, hypertension, and vasoconstriction. Smoking injures blood vessel walls by damaging endothelial cells, thus increasing permeability to lipids and other blood components. Among metabolic and biochemical changes induced by smoking are elevated plasma, free fatty acids, elevated vasopressin, and a thrombogenic balance of prostacyclin and thromboxane A2. Chronic smoking is associated with a tendency for increased serum cholesterol, reduced high density lipoprotein, and other lipid effects that contribute to atherosclerosis. In addition to rheologic and hematologic changes from increased erythrocytes, leukocytes, and fibrinogen, smokers have alterations in platelet aggregation and survival that produce thrombosis. Considering the ubiquitous repercussions of this menace, vascular surgeons should play an active role in motivating their patients to quit smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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