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J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown). 2012 Oct;13(10):620-7. doi: 10.2459/JCM.0b013e328356a5f2.

Pathology of plaque haemorrhage and neovascularization of coronary artery.

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Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Diseases, Foundation IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.


Intraplaque haemorrhage (IPH) is thought to play crucial roles in plaque progression and plaque rupture, resulting in acute coronary syndromes, which are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the developed countries. IPH is a common finding in atherosclerotic plaques. In the past decade, the use of anti-Glycophorin A antibodies that specifically and uniquely label membranes of the red cells triggered a cascade of pathologic and experimental studies concordantly documenting not only the presence but also the major role of IPH in plaque progression and complications. Moreover, recent studies have shown that plaque neovascularization is essential to IPH as a source of blood content. Although the mechanisms by which IPH impacts plaque progression and plaque rupture gradually become clear, several questions such as causes of angioneogenesis, identification and treatment of plaques with angioneogenesis are still unanswered. Further studies are needed to resolve these issues; however, the investigation of IPH without a histopathological approach is unconceivable. This review will focus on the pathology of IPH and plaque neovascularization, pathophysiology and potential clinical impact.

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