Author(s): Baikoussis NG, Apostolakis EE, Papakonstantinou NA, Siminelakis SN, Arnaoutoglou H,
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Abstract Vasa vasorum (VV) are microscopic vases that perfuse the vessel's wall; arteries and veins. Many recent researches support the opinion that VV have a significant role in aortic pathology. The VV, or 'the vessels of the vessels', form a network of microvessels that lie in the adventitia and penetrate the outer media of the host vessel wall. Although the importance of the VV in providing nutritional support is not well known, obstruction of blood flow through these vessels has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many cardiovascular diseases such as aortic intramural hematoma, aortic aneurysm, and acute or chronic aortic dissection. Although the proliferation of VV due to atherogenic stimuli is controversial, experimental and clinical studies strongly suggest the potential of VV in vascular proliferative disorders. It seems that the rupture of VV is implicated in intramural hematoma, which can develop in acute aortic dissection. In this review article, we would like to stress the anatomy and mainly the pathophysiology, and the implication of VV in the acute and chronic aortic pathologies. Copyright © 2010 European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Eur J Cardiothorac Surg
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research