The adequate management of cardiovascular diseases remains one of the major challenges of modern medicine. Nanomaterials may offer new and unique treatment opportunities that transcend the shortcomings of currently available therapies. Conventional administration of drugs is mainly based on the systemic delivery of therapeutic molecules, often leading to their non-specific distribution throughout the body, decreasing their efficacy and sometimes resulting in deleterious side effects. Through the precise control of the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, such as size, drug loading and surface functionalization, nanoencapsulation of select therapeutic agents may enhance drug delivery and release at the sites of disease, ultimately increasing their effectiveness. Different biomaterials loaded with therapeutic drugs have been engineered for cardiovascular nanotherapy and evaluated in preclinical models. This review highlights how nanomedicines (i.e., nanoparticles and drugs) offer interesting perspectives in the treatment of atherosclerosis and heart ischemia, potentially affording new tools in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2017.07.008