Where in the body does atherosclerosis occur?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Elena R Ladich, MD; Chief Editor: Allen Patrick Burke, MD  more...
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Atherosclerosis occurs in elastic and muscular arteries and may occur iatrogenically in vein grafts interposed in the arterial circulation. The aorta is affected earliest, followed by the carotid arteries, coronary arteries, and iliofemoral arteries. Sawabe et al have shown that disease progression occurred more rapidly in the aorta, followed by coronary and femoral, and occurred least in the carotid and intracerebral arteries. [10] Initially, lesions are most common at branch points, at sites of low shear, where a predilection to plaque formation has been observed. Coronary lesions, including thrombi occuring at atherosclerotic sites, are most prevalent in the proximal coronary arteries: the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery, followed by the right and left circumflex coronary arteries.

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