Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the arteries and accounts for about 50 percent of all deaths in industrialized countries. For its treatment, patients primarily need to undergo lifestyle changes, concerning their diet or sportive behavior, while additional pharmaceutical approaches help to reduce major risk factors such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia. However, these two areas of treatment are only briefly mentioned here. Instead, this article focuses on literature and patents from the last decade focusing on invasive surgical procedures necessary for treatment of diseased blood vessels in severe cases of atherosclerosis. Described herein are synthetic grafts and so-called autografts, which are harvested from the patient for bypass surgery. In addition, implantable stents are discussed, which deal with different atherosclerotic aspects, such as restenosis, re-endothelialization, neointimal hyperplasia and thrombosis. And finally, publications and inventions are presented from the relatively new field of artificial tissue engineering incorporating stem cells or biomaterials to construct new vessels as substitutes for diseased veins and arteries.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, biomaterial, bypass graft, cardiovascular replacement, restenosis, stem cell, stent, tissue engineering
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