Systemic vascular inflammation plays multiple maladaptive roles which contribute to the progression and destabilization of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). These roles include: (i) driving atheroprogression in the clinically stable phase of disease; (ii) inciting atheroma destabilization and precipitating acute coronary syndromes (ACS); and (iii) responding to cardiomyocyte necrosis in myocardial infarction (MI). Despite an evolving understanding of these biologic processes, successful clinical translation into effective therapies has proven challenging. Realizing the promise of targeting inflammation in the prevention and treatment of ASCVD will likely require more individualized approaches, as the degree of inflammation differs among cardiovascular patients. A large body of evidence has accumulated supporting the use of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) as a clinical measure of inflammation. Appreciating the mechanistic diversity of ACS triggers and the kinetics of hsCRP in MI may resolve purported inconsistencies from prior observational studies. Future clinical trial designs incorporating hsCRP may hold promise to enable individualized approaches. The aim of this Clinical Review is to summarize the current understanding of how inflammation contributes to ASCVD progression, destabilization, and adverse clinical outcomes. We offer forward-looking perspective on what next steps may enable successful clinical translation into effective therapeutic approaches - enabling targeting the right patients with the right therapy at the right time - on the road to more individualized ASCVD care.
- Acute coronary syndrome
- C-reactive protein
- Cardiovascular disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine