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Image Number 17 - Artery, aorta, atherosclerosis, central necrosis

Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis. Atherosclerosis (AS), is characterized by atheromatous plaques, up to 1.5 cm in diamter, lining the lumen of the vessel. The plaques consist of a superficial fibrous cap composed of smooth muscle cells, leukocytes, and dense collagen overlying more smooth muscle cells, macrophages, and T-cells. There may also be a central area of necrosis, that is very prominent in this slide. This central area is characterized by dead cells, lipid, cholesterol clefts, seen occupying the majority of the right half of this slide, foamy macrophages, and plasma proteins. The atheroma may be preceded by fatty streaks. There are a number of theories relating to the etiology of the plaque. Fifty percent of all deaths in the United States are attributable to AS.

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