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From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Why no "hardening of the veins"?
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 16:22:02 -0800
Message-ID: <a7r395$8f9$>

Paul Chefurka wrote in message
>Why does atherosclerosis occur only in arteries, and never in veins?
>Except for oxygen content, the blood would have approximately the same
>composition in both systems.  Is the structure of vein walls less
>susceptible to damage, or is there another reason?

My guess is pressure damage is part of it. Even in arteries you see
differentially more damage at points where they are under unusual mechanical
stress. Also, high blood pressure is a known risk factor for
atherosclerosis. Veins never have take that kind of beating.

Also arguing against the idea that there's something specially vulnerable
about arteries, note that the pulmonary arteries essentially never get
atherosclerosis. They're pretty much like other arteries, but the pulmonary
system is a very low pressure system, with arteries running at 1/5th of
systemic pressures.

On the other side of the coin, if you subject veins to arterial pressures
(as when they are used as coronary bypass grafts) they rapidly develop
pathology which looks very much like atherosclerosis.

Perhaps some of the people in and would like to


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