DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Atherosclerosis. Cross-sections showing a comparison between a healthy aorta (bottom), the main artery of the body, and one showing several plaques (yellow-white) of atheroma. Atheroma plaques consist of a mixture of fat deposits, decaying muscle cells, fibrous tissue, clumps of blood platelets and cholesterol. The development of such plaques leads to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the aorta, stenosis); atherosclerosis may cause an aortic aneurysm, the ballooning of the aortic wall, which may require surgery to correct impaired blood flow and to remove the risk of rupture and fatal blood loss.
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