From ulcerated atheromatous arterial lesions, crystals of cholesterol (cholesterol embolism) or larger fragments of atheromas (atheroembolism) may be dislodged. Such emboli may originate either in the aorta or in any of the major systemic arteries and lodge in their small ramifications.
Atheromatous embolism may yield states varying from those of subclinical nature to those of obvious arterial occlusion. Myocardial ischemia or infarction, small strokes, cutaneous nodules, splenic infarction, gastrointestinal bleeding, pancreatitis, hypertension, renal failure, and peripheral gangrene are among the clinical manifestations when arteries are occluded by emboli originating in atheromas of the aorta. Syndromes resembling polyarteritis nodosa and bacterial endocarditis may result from widespread embolism to small arteries.
- © 1964 American Heart Association, Inc.