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Coronary artery ectasia: etiopathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment

  • Authors: Dendramis, G.; Paleologo, C.; Lo Presti, A.; Piraino, D.; Lo Greco, V.; Grassedonio, E.; LA GRUTTA, L.; Midiri, M.; Assennato, P.; Novo, S.
  • Publication year: 2014
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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Coronary ectasia is a dilation of coronary arteries, angiographically defined if the diameter of the artery is ≥1.5 times greater than that of the intact adjacent vascular segment. An association has been found between coronary artery ectasia and a broad spectrum of different diseases, first of all atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. The mechanisms that determine the abnormal dilatation of the vascular lumen and the etiology of coronary artery ectasia are still poorly understood. Various hypotheses have been formulated over the time, the most accredited between these recognizes as main responsible an uncontrolled activity of a particular family of enzymes that degrade the extracellular matrix, the metalloproteinases. This exaggerated activity can be due to an increase in the absolute sense of these enzymes and/or a reduction in the levels of their natural specific inhibitors. Coronary ectasia may have a variable clinical presentation. It is often an occasional finding detected at coronary angiography or following the occurrence of atypical chest pain, stable angina or even acute coronary syndrome. The frequent coexistence of coronary artery ectasia and atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and their common histopathological features have led to hypothesize that coronary ectasia may represent a variant of atherosclerosis. However, some significant differences between these two diseases leave open the hypothesis that coronary artery ectasia may be a pathological entity per se.