CLEVELAND HEARTLAB’S THREE KEY AREAS OF FOCUS:
The Response to Injury Hypothesis
— Dr. Russell Ross (1976)
Dr. Ross’s “Response to Injury Hypothesis” provided insight into the initiation and subsequent progression of cardiovascular disease. Briefly, cardiovascular disease is initiated through increased cholesterol and its subsequent oxidation leading to injury of the artery wall. The body responds to the injury with an inflammatory response designed to remove cholesterol from the artery wall. This process becomes dysregulated and ultimately potentiates the progression of cholesterol deposition and vulnerable plaque formation, placing an individual at increased risk of plaque rupture and subsequent heart attack or stroke.