Pathology of coronary atherosclerosis and thrombosis

Fumiyuki Otsuka, Satoshi Yasuda, Teruo Noguchi, Hatsue Ishibashi-Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The process of early atherosclerotic plaque progression is characterized by the development of pathologic intimal thickening (PIT) with lipid pool that may transform into the necrotic core to form fibroatheroma, where infiltration of foamy macrophages plays a crucial role. The expansion of the necrotic core is also attributable to intraplaque hemorrhage. Thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) is characterized by a relatively large necrotic core with an overlying thin fibrous cap measuring <65 μm typically containing numerous macrophages, and is considered to be the precursor lesion of plaque rupture which is the most common cause of coronary thrombosis. The second common cause of acute thrombosis is plaque erosion, while calcified nodules is known to be the least frequent cause of coronary thrombosis. Coronary thrombosis can occur without symptoms to form healed lesions, which contributes to an increase in plaque burden and luminal narrowing. The process of plaque progression is generally accompanied by the progression of calcification. An understanding of the histomorphological characteristics of coronary plaques should provide important insights into the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of atherosclerotic coronary disease for both basic and clinical researchers as well as for clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-408
Number of pages13
JournalCardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary disease
  • Pathology
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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