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Am J Cardiol. 1990 Mar 20;65(12):2F-6F.

Diffuse extent of coronary atherosclerosis in fatal coronary artery disease.

Author information

1
Pathology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.

Abstract

In 4 subsets of patients with coronary artery disease, the amounts of narrowing of the 4 major epicardial coronary arteries were compared (left main, left anterior descending, left circumflex and right) by atherosclerotic plaques. Among 129 patients studied at necropsy, an average of 2.7 of the 4 arteries were narrowed greater than 75% in cross-sectional area at some point; in control subjects, narrowing was seen in an average of 0.7 arteries. Patients with unstable angina pectoris had a greater incidence of narrowing (3.2 arteries) than did patients with sudden coronary death (2.8), acute myocardial infarction (MI) (2.7) or healed MI (2.3). Each of the 4 major arteries was divided into segments 5 mm in length, and histologic sections were prepared and stained by the Movat method. A total of 6,461 segments were analyzed from the 129 patients and 1,849 from the 40 controls. In the 129 patients, 35% of the 5-mm segments were narrowed 75 to 100% in cross-sectional area (compared with 3% in control subjects). The group with unstable angina had the highest percentage (48%) of severely narrowed segments compared with the groups with sudden coronary death (36%), acute (34%) and healed MI (31%). Only 8% of the 6,461 segments were narrowed less than or equal to 25% in cross-sectional area, and virtually none of the 6,461 segments was normal; thus, 92% of the coronary segments were narrowed greater than 25% in cross-sectional area by atherosclerotic plaque alone. Among patients with fatal coronary artery disease studied at necropsy, therefore, the atherosclerotic process is severe and diffuse in the major epicardial coronary arteries.

PMID:
2316476
DOI:
10.1016/0002-9149(90)91246-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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