Localizing factors in atherosclerosis

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Atherosclerotic vascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Although the entire vascular bed is constantly exposed to the same risk factors, atheromatous lesions present a distinct intra-individual pattern of localization and progression, being consistently more frequent in specific segments of the arterial vascular bed. This peculiar distribution may be related to selective sensitivity of such locations to the influence of risk factors or to histopathological and flow differences, and has relevant clinical implications, as the prognosis of the disease varies according to localization. We here review the theories that have been formulated to explain such preferential locations, as its understanding can be useful to pursue diagnostic screening strategies and focused preventive measures.

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