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Occlusive Atherosclerosis at 40x Magnification

Atherosclerosis is the thickening and hardening of the arteries associated with deposits, or plaques, building up along the inner lining of the vessels. Plaques may contain a variety of materials, including cholesterol, fatty substances, calcium, and fibrin. As plaques increase in thickness, they progressively occlude the flow of blood through the affected artery. Blood clots sometimes form over top of plaques as well, which can cause further obstruction. If an artery becomes completely blocked, a heart attack or stroke can occur. Such medical emergencies may also ensure, however, even when an artery is only partially occluded if a plaque ruptures or a blood clot attached to a plaque breaks away and migrates to the heart or brain

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