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Am Heart J. 1989 Feb;117(2):296-305.

The dynamics of progression of coronary atherosclerosis studied in 168 medically treated patients who underwent coronary arteriography three times.

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Department of Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH 44195.


To study the dynamics of progression of coronary atherosclerosis we analyzed findings in 168 patients who underwent coronary arteriography three times without undergoing coronary surgery or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Of 66 patients who had progression in interval 1 (from first to second coronary arteriogram), 32 also had progression in interval 2 (from second to third coronary arteriogram); of 102 patients who had no progression in interval 1, 37 had progression in interval 2. In only 9 of the 32 patients who had progression during both intervals was the same lesion involved, and in six of these patients other lesions were also involved. Progression correlated with the duration of the interval between catheterizations, an increase in symptoms, and the occurrence of myocardial infarction. Analysis of variance showed no significant differences in mean values for age, blood pressure, total serum cholesterol, and serum triglycerides in the four main progression groups. Progression of coronary atherosclerosis is a highly unpredictable process. It follows a nonlinear course, and information derived from sequential coronary arteriograms is of little value in predicting future progression.

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