Atherosclerosis and Angina

Chapter Summary and Credits

Tetiana Povshedna

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of ischemic heart disease worldwide, and its prevalence and impact continue to increase despite the advances in treatment and prevention strategies.

Formation of atherosclerotic plaques involves the activation/injury of endothelium, which triggers the deposition of lipids within the blood vessel wall. Plaques are most commonly located at the branching points of large arteries, which warrants close attention to these places during diagnosis. As atherosclerotic plaques progress, they can cause blood vessel lumen obstruction and/or clot formation, which results in ultimate blood flow restriction and ischemia of the target organ. Clinically, advanced atherosclerosis presents as heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, aneurysm, etc. While all these conditions occur at various locations within the vascular tree and cause impairment to different organs, it’s important to remember that they share the same underlying cause – a preventable condition (atherosclerosis).

While some non-modifiable factors (sex, ethnicity, genetic changes)  affect an individual risk of atherosclerosis, it’s important to recognize the effect of some modifiable factors (smoking, low activity levels, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, etc) on atherosclerosis risk and progression. Primary and secondary prevention efforts at the individual and public health levels are important to prevent atherosclerosis onset and early diagnosis. Health behavior changes that address modifiable risk factors are at the core of primary and secondary prevention and usually preceded lipid-lowering medication considerations.


Author:  Tetiana Povshedna (UBC graduate student)

Author of questions and exercises: Tetiana Povshedna (UBC graduate student)

Gross anatomy and histology videos: Tetiana Povshedna (UBC graduate student) with supervision of Dr. Gang Wang (UBC, Director of DHPLC)

Cardiac Technologist:  Andrea Glew (Cardiac Sciences Technology, BCIT)

Videoediting:  Dr. Jennifer Kong



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Pathology Copyright © 2022 by Tetiana Povshedna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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