Pathologic Disparities Between Peripheral Artery Disease and Coronary Artery Disease

Nupoor Narula, Jeffrey W. Olin, Navneet Narula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Atherosclerosis is a systemic disease that involves multiple vascular beds. The pathological characteristics and clinical presentation, however, vary among the different vascular territories. Acute coronary syndrome is a relatively common manifestation of coronary atherosclerotic disease, wherein the thrombosis occurs secondary to disruption (65%-75%) and erosion (25%-35%) of the fibrous caps of atheromatous plaques. The plaques associated with plaque rupture have large necrotic cores and thin and inflamed fibrous caps. However, the pathological manifestations of peripheral artery disease result from thrombosis regardless of the extent of atherosclerosis. Approximately 75% of peripheral arteries with significant stenosis demonstrate presence of thrombi, of which two-thirds have thrombi associated with insignificant atherosclerosis. The presence of obliterative thrombi in peripheral arteries of patients with critical limb ischemia in the absence of coronary artery-like lesions suggests a locally thrombogenic or remotely embolic basis of disease. Extensive calcification of the medial vascular layer is commonly observed. In this review, we have described and compared the pathological basis of coronary and peripheral artery disease in patients with acute coronary syndrome and critical limb ischemia. It is expected that pathogenetic characterization would allow for definition of strategic targets for superior management of peripheral artery disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1982-1989
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • acute coronary syndrome
  • atherosclerosis
  • coronary artery disease
  • embolism
  • gangrene
  • thrombosis
  • vascular calcification


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