Coronary Artery Disease
Blockage or Damage
The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle itself. Blood supply through these arteries is critical for the heart. Damage to or blockage of a coronary artery can result in injury to the heart. Normally, blood flows through a coronary artery unimpeded. However, if the inner wall of a coronary artery becomes damaged, cholesterol plaque can build-up, progressively narrowing the available pathway through which blood can flow. Coronary artery disease usually results from the build-up of fatty material and plaque, a condition called atherosclerosis. As the coronary arteries narrow, the flow of blood to the heart can slow or stop. The blocked artery results in a lack of oxygen, or ischemia, to the part of the heart muscle that the artery supplies, causing chest pain (stable angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, or other symptoms.