Coronary Artery 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.