Endothelial dysfunction (EnD) is a hallmark feature of coronary artery disease (CAD), representing the key early step of atherosclerotic plaque development and progression. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is performed daily worldwide to treat symptomatic CAD, however a consistent proportion of patients remain symptomatic for angina despite otherwise successful revascularization. EnD plays a central role in the mechanisms of post-PCI angina, as it is strictly associated with both structural and functional abnormalities in the coronary arteries that may persist, or even accentuate, following PCI. The assessment of endothelial function in patients undergoing PCI might help to identify those patients at higher risk of future cardiovascular events and recurrent/persistent angina who might therefore benefit more from an intensive treatment. In this review, we address the role of EnD in determining angina after PCI, discussing its pathophysiological mechanisms, diagnostic approaches and therapeutic perspectives.
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