Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world and represents an enormous global health burden. Significant advances have been made in the conservative, medical and surgical management across the range of cardiovascular diseases however the inflammatory components of these diseases have traditionally been neglected. Inflammation is certainly a key component of atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory condition, but it is at least correlative and predictive of risk in many other aspects of cardiovascular medicine ranging from heart failure to outcomes following reperfusion strategies. Inflammation therefore represents significant potential for future risk stratification of patients as well as offering new therapeutic targets across cardiovascular medicine. This review explores the role of inflammation in several of the major aspects of cardiovascular medicine focusing on current and possible future examples of the targeting of inflammation in prognosis and therapy. It concludes that future directions of cardiovascular research and clinical practice should seek to identify cohorts of patients with a significant inflammatory component to their cardiovascular condition or reaction to cardiovascular intervention. These patients might benefit from therapeutic strategies mounted against the inflammatory components implicated in their condition.
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