|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
Conditions InDepth: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
by Michelle Badash, MS and Michael Jubinville, MPH
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
CAD is damage or disease of the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood. Changes to the blood vessel make it difficult for blood to flow, and slows or stops the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle.
Regular blood flow is needed through the coronary arteries to bring oxygen and nutrients to the constantly working heart muscle. Slowed or interrupted blood flow can cause damage to the heart muscle and decrease the heart's ability to pump blood to the body. Blood flow that is less than needed is known as ischemia. Slowed blood flow to the heart can cause pain known as angina. When blood flow is completely cut off a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, will occur.
CAD is the most common life-threatening disease in the US.
Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of CAD. It is the narrowing of blood vessels due to a build up of a waxy substance (plaque) on the walls of the blood vessels. The plaque is made in reaction to injury of the blood vessel walls and/or from substances in the blood. Patches develop over areas of injury on the blood vessel walls to help them heal. Substances in the blood like LDL "bad" cholesterol and glucose can get trapped in these patches and remain even after the injury has healed. Over time, more substances can get trapped in this patch and form plaque. The plaque is irritating to the blood vessel walls which causes more injury and creates a cycle that develops more plaque. The plaque growth continues to narrow the blood vessel opening.
Damage to blood vessels can occur from multiple factors such as:
Angina (chest pain). American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 14, 2017. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary artery disease (CAD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 28, 2018. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary heart disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 3/15/2015
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.