The pathophysiology of coronary atherosclerosis is complex and multifactorial. The probability of the development of symptomatic coronary heart disease may be predicted by standard risk factor stratification involving hypertension, dyslipidemia, age, positive family history, and diabetes. However, risk factor stratification has been demonstrated to have significant limitations in the individual patient, which has generated a search for more specific and sensitive markers. Evidence is increasing that atherosclerosis is a disease characterized by inflammation, beginning with the earliest identifiable lesion (fatty streak) to the advanced vulnerable plaque. Clinical markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein, modified low-density lipoprotein, homocysteine, tumor necrosis factor, and thermogenicity, have been identified as emerging risk factors that may add prognostic information in patient management. This review centers on inflammation as a potential pathogenetic factor in atherosclerosis and the role that clinical markers may play in the identification of patients at risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine