Coronary artery disease

Normal coronary artery and blood flow and an artery narrowed by atherosclerosis

Coronary artery disease happens when fatty deposits called plaque (say "plak") build up inside your coronary arteries. This process of plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis.

Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to your heart. Plaque buildup may reduce the amount of blood that gets to your heart. Coronary artery disease can cause angina symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure. It can lead to a heart attack.

Current as of: December 16, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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