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Perspectives

Coronary artery disease: what is the role of inflammation?

Anthony D Pisaniello, Stephen J Nicholls

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Abstract

The increasing evidence that inflammation plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis has led to considerable interest in potential implications for clinical practice. These include the role of inflammatory markers in predicting CVD risk and the development of novel therapies to target vascular inflammation.

Key Points

  • Cardiovascular event rates remain high despite currently available therapies to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
  • Inflammation plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis.
  • There is great interest in the role of inflammatory markers on cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Imaging modalities have been developed to both identify and quantify inflammation in atherosclerotic plaques.
  • Novel agents targeting specific inflammatory mediators have not yet proved beneficial, but several large trials are ongoing.

    Picture credit: © Cynthia Turner.

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