Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963954 | Print ISBN: 9781412959087 | Online ISBN: 9781412963954| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE IS a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and other developed nations. The term cardiovascular disease refers to any pathology of the heart and blood vessels, whether in larger vessels such as arteries and veins, or in microvasculature. A common form of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries due to buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessel lining. If a deposit, or plaque, breaks off it can travel through the vasculature until lodging somewhere, interrupting blood flow to the downstream tissues. When a blockage occurs in the heart, a part of the heart is temporarily deprived of vital oxygen, and a myo—cardial infarction occurs, more commonly known as a heart attack. The lack of oxygen results in necrosis or death of the heart muscle affected and permanent scarring. For severely affected patients the only recourse is heart transplantation. However, Current ...