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Coronary Artery Disease

Biomedical Illustration, Editorial

Coronary Artery Disease

How heart attacks happen (and not just to elderly men)


Dr. Shelley Wall, Dr. John Wong.


December 2018


Photoshop, Illustrator.


Two-page spread in a popular science magazine.



Make an editorial spread that depicts the pathogenesis and clinical consequences of coronary artery disease.

Since CAD is so common, but has been popularly associated with older men, I also aimed to use inclusive language and patient representation in my spread. Special thanks to Colleen Tang Poy for helping me workshop the text.


Target audience

Educated lay audience.


2021 re-render of child asset



1. Preliminary research and concept art

Blood vessel tissue landscape
Tissue landscape

Tissue cube study of the pathology of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease
Tissue cube study


2. Layout & composition


3. Rendering

​Despite there being numerous readily-available visualizations of CAD and atherosclerosis, most illustrations of the components of fibrous plaques are highly abstracted, and do not show 3D relationships. Using visual references and description, I tried to depict these structures with enough realism and that they could be easily identified and contextualized in 3D space.

Work-up to colour:


4. Final layout & composition



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Chilton, R. J. (2004). Pathophysiology of Coronary Heart Disease: A Brief Review. JAOA, 104(9), 55–58.

Krstic, R. V. (1991). Human microscopic anatomy. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 48-49.

Maas, A. H. E. M., & Appelman, Y. E. A. (2010). Gender differences in coronary heart disease. Netherlands Heart Journal, 18(12), 598–602.

Sakakura, K., Nakano, M., Otsuka, F., Ladich, E., Kolodgie, F. D., & Virmani, R. (2013). Pathophysiology of atherosclerosis plaque progression. Heart Lung and Circulation, 22(6), 399–411.

Statistics Canada. (2018). Leading causes of death, total population, by age group and sex, Canada, annual. Geography: Canada.

Suhalim, J. L., Chung, C. Y., Lilledahl, M. B., Lim, R. S., Levi, M., Tromberg, B. J., & Potma, E. O. (2012). Characterization of cholesterol crystals in atherosclerotic plaques using stimulated Raman scattering and second-harmonic generation microscopy. Biophysical Journal, 102(8), 1988–1995.

University of Ottawa Heart Institute. (n.d.). Coronary Artery Disease (Atherosclerosis).

University of Ottawa Heart Institute. (2017). Acute Coronary Syndrome.

Wang, T., & Butany, J. (2017). Pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Diagnostic Histopathology, 23(11), 473–478.

Xu, S., Bendeck, M., & Gotlieb, A. I. (2015). Vascular Pathobiology: Atherosclerosis and Large Vessel Disease. In Cardiovascular Pathology: Fourth Edition.

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