Heart attacks strike suddenly and have a range of different triggers. Researchers from Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) were able to uncover a further underlying cause. Studying arterial deposits (plaque) in patients with acute coronary syndrome, the researchers found that, in some patients, these were characterized by activated immune cells which, as a result of altered flow conditions within the vessel, had accumulated on the interior arterial wall, causing damage to the arterial lining. The researchers’ report on this novel immune system-mediated pathophysiological mechanism has been published in the European Heart Journal.
Acute coronary syndrome (also known as heart attack) is a life-threatening condition which is characterized by impaired blood flow to the heart and is caused by a blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries. Arterial deposits (known as plaque) represent a major contributing factor, as they can give rise to