Endothelial Dysfunction: Its Clinical Value and Methods of Assessment
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Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is a systemic disorder characterized by reduced production of nitric oxide. This pathologic condition, which impairs vascular homeostasis, leads to the loss of protective properties of endothelial cells and is related to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. ED may affect every vascular bed, accounting for several clinical implications, particularly when the coronary bed is affected. Although the reliability of ED as a cardiovascular disease surrogate is still debated, many methods for its assessment have been proposed. In this review, we underline the clinical value of ED in the cardiovascular field and summarize the principal methods currently available for its assessment.