Coronary artery lesions in Takayasu arteritis: pathological considerations

Heart Vessels Suppl. 1992;7:26-31. doi: 10.1007/BF01744540.


This communication reviews the clinical and pathological features of coronary artery lesions in Takayasu arteritis. The incidence of coronary artery involvement has been reported to be 9% to 10%, and is observed mainly in autopsy cases because coronary artery disease is usually not evident until the occurrence of angina pectoris or myocardial infarction, or after the onset of congestive heart failure. On the basis of pathological features, the following three types of coronary artery lesions can be distinguished: type 1, stenosis or occlusion of the coronary ostia and the proximal segments of the coronary arteries; type 2, diffuse or focal coronary arteritis, which may extend diffusely to all epicardial branches or may involve focal segments, so-called skip lesions; and type 3, coronary aneurysm. Most of the coronary artery lesions in Takayasu arteritis are of type 1. Narrowing of the coronary arteries is mainly due to the extension of the inflammatory processes of proliferation of the intima and contraction of the fibrotic media and adventitia from the ascending aorta. In some cases, coronary stenosis may be caused by coronary arteritis as skip lesions in Takayasu arteritis, but even in these cases the lesions have been reported to affect mainly the proximal segments of the coronary arteries. Diffuse lesions of the coronary artery and coronary artery aneurysm seem to be very rare in Takayasu arteritis. Other causes of coronary ostial stenosis, coronary arteritis and coronary artery aneurysm are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Disease / pathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Takayasu Arteritis / pathology*