XI. Diseases of the Arteries.
It would be impossible for the heart and contiguous organs to be affected with structural disease without the same pathological conditions affecting the arteries themselves to a degree. These tubes are subject to the influence of increased tension, and of high temperatures, and also to irritant poisons circulating in the blood, which may be bacterial or toxins resulting from bacteria. Or they may be influenced by the presence of an excess of the normal salts in the blood. An inflammation of the arteries may occur, or there may be fatty degeneration or calcification or amyloid degeneration, which is rare. The circulation in the vessels may be impeded by thrombi or by emboli, which may result in necrosis with consequent absorption of septic material in cases of infective origin.
Among the most common of the inflammatory conditions is inflammation of the aorta, which is apt to occur during Infectious disease, and also as the result of the use of alcohol. When disease of the coronary arteries occurs there is apt to be a blocking of the branches and a consequent suppuration, which is described as a circumscribed myocarditis. These vessels are quite commonly influenced by the presence of syphilis, which may produce important changes in their structure.
The treatment of disease of the arteries is general in character, and must be directed to the underlying cause.