protective mechanism

Last reviewed 01/2018

It is hypothesised that there are two types of atherosclerotic lesions:

  • atherotic:
    • soft, lipid rich
    • there is often inflammation which destabilises the plaque's fibrous cap
    • the risk of plaque rupture makes these dangerous

  • sclerotic:
    • hard, collagen-rich
    • these are safe

The statin family of drugs alters the characteristics of the lipid core and reduces inflammation. The fibrous cap is stabilised preventing rupture. The total volume of the plaque may remain unchanged.