Role of blood platelets in coronary artery disease

Am J Cardiol. 1979 Jun;43(6):1197-206. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(79)90154-1.


Over the past decade, research in blood platelet physiology has led to the suggestion that platelets play an important part in the pathogenesis and complications of coronary artery disease. Occlusive intravascular platelet aggregates have been shown to cause ischemic myocardial damage in the experimental animal and to be present in some patients who die suddenly. The interplay between endothelial damage and platelet aggregation has been implicated in the etiology of atherosclerosis. Products released from platelets during aggregation may cause arterial spasm. Patients with overt ischemic heart disease and with the risk factors associated with coronary artery disease have been found to have abnormally reactive platelets. Clinical studies of drugs that inhibit platelet aggregation have been reported to show a beneficial effect in preventing cardiac deaths or myocardial infarction; other studies have been negative or shown only a trend toward benefit. This report reviews the theoretical and experimental basis for the platelet hypothesis and the current data on the use of antiplatelet drugs in patients with coronary disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / blood
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clofibrate / administration & dosage
  • Clofibrate / adverse effects
  • Clofibrate / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Disease / blood*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Dipyridamole / adverse effects
  • Dipyridamole / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Placebos
  • Platelet Aggregation* / drug effects
  • Prostaglandins, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Prostaglandins, Synthetic / adverse effects
  • Prostaglandins, Synthetic / therapeutic use*
  • Spasm / blood
  • Spasm / etiology
  • Sulfinpyrazone / administration & dosage
  • Sulfinpyrazone / adverse effects
  • Sulfinpyrazone / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Placebos
  • Prostaglandins, Synthetic
  • Dipyridamole
  • Clofibrate
  • Aspirin
  • Sulfinpyrazone