- The lipid deposits in the intima of arteries, producing a yellow swelling on the endothelial surface; a characteristic of atherosclerosis. SYN: atherosis. [G. athere, gruel, + -oma, tumor]
* * *1) fatty degeneration of the inner coat of the arteries2) an abnormal fatty deposit in an arteryath·er·o·ma·tous -'rō-mət-əs adj
* * *n.degeneration of the walls of the arteries due to the formation in them of fatty plaques and scar tissue. This limits blood circulation and predisposes to thrombosis. It is common in adults in Western countries. A diet rich in animal fats (see cholesterol) and refined sugar, cigarette smoking, obesity, and inactivity are the principal causes. It may be symptomless but often causes complications from arterial obstruction in middle and late life (such as angina pectoris, heart attack, stroke, and gangrene). Treatment is by prevention, but some symptoms may be ameliorated by drug therapy (e.g. angina by glyceryl trinitrate) or by surgical bypass of the arterial obstruction.• atheromatous adj.
* * *ath·er·o·ma (ath″ər-oґmə) [Gr. athērōma a tumor filled with gruellike matter, from athērē gruel] a mass of plaque of degenerated, thickened arterial intima occurring in atherosclerosis; called also atherosis and atheromatous degeneration.
Medical dictionary. 2011.