The Risk Continuum of Atherosclerosis and its Implications for Defining CHD by Coronary Angiography

Armin Arbab-Zadeh, Valentin Fuster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Patients undergoing coronary angiography for suspected coronary heart disease who are found to have coronary atherosclerotic disease with <50% diameter stenosis may carry a risk of adverse cardiac events similar to that in patients with single-vessel obstructive disease. Yet clinical practice guidelines offer no direction for managing symptomatic patients with nonobstructive coronary atherosclerosis because current diagnostic criteria for coronary heart disease are not met. Accordingly, secondary preventive measures are not endorsed, and their role is not defined in this setting. Available data suggest that we are missing the opportunity to provide effective preventive measures in millions of patients with nonobstructive coronary heart disease. The emergence of noninvasive coronary angiography in patients with suspected coronary heart disease provides the opportunity to transition from a categorical perspective on the presence or absence of coronary heart disease to accepting the risk continuum from atherosclerosis and its implications for diagnosis and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2467-2478
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Dec 6 2016


  • atherosclerotic plaque
  • coronary artery disease
  • ischemic heart disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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