Coronary atherosclerosis, leading to coronary artery stenosis, is the main cause for ischemic health disease in the Westem countries. Stenoses manifest themselves by limiting blood supply to the myocardium thus causing complaints. A long history of degenerative atherosclerotic disease of the intimal wall of the coronary vessels has usually preceded these events. Probably because of this long term process the composition of the accumulated obstructive tissue is quite heterogeneous and consists of a variety of cells and extra cellular material like lipid containing macrophages, smooth muscle cells, Illonocytes, collagen. cholesterol crystals and calcium. In addition, fresh or organized thrombi may have been deposited on these plaques. Regression of these lesions may be obtained by lifestyle changes or lipid lowering therapy. The acute invasive removal of such complex lesions, however, cannot be achieved by applying simple mechanical or chemical means.

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Netherlands Heart Foundation, Foundation for Technical Sciences (STW), Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of the Netherlands
N. Bom (Klaas) , J.R.T.C. Roelandt (Jos)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam