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The secret to some patients' ability to form coronary artery collateral beds may lie in the amount of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) they produce during hypoxia.
In a study of 51 patients with 70% or greater blockage in at least one coronary artery, Israeli researchers performed diagnostic angiography to determine the extent of each patient's collateral blood supply. Patients were separated into three groups according to collateral beds, and their VEGF levels were tested. Researchers found no difference in VEGF production when heart muscle cells received sufficient oxygen.
Voelker R. VEGF Linked With New Vessels. JAMA. 1999;282(10):933. doi:10.1001/jama.282.10.933-JWM90007-4-1