Atherosclerosis is a disorder of the arterial wall. The vessel wall is invaded by lipids and inflammatory cells which can lead to thickening of the arterial wall and eventually to formation of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque. Such a vulnerable plaque consists of intraplaque hemorrhage, inflammatory cells, a lipid rich necrotic core (LRNC) and a thin fibrous cap separating the thrombogenic LRNC from the blood stream. The thin fibrous cap is prone to rupture, which can cause thrombus formation and subsequent embolization of thrombus into distal vessels or acute occlusion. This is the major cause of stroke and myocardial infarction.

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