Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Coronary Artery Disease Overview

What is coronary artery disease?
A person with coronary artery disease has narrowing of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Coronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis, which is also called hardening of the arteries. As the narrowing worsens, the arteries become unable to supply enough oxygen to meet demand. This can cause chest pain, known as angina. Severe narrowing increases the risk for blood clot formation inside one of the coronary arteries. When this occurs it is called a heart attack.

What are the symptoms of coronary artery disease?
Most people with coronary artery disease have no symptoms at all. When the narrowing worsens angina symptoms may develop. The most common symptoms of angina include chest pain or chest heaviness.

How does the doctor treat coronary artery disease?
Treatment for coronary artery disease includes no smoking, weight reduction, and a low fat and cholesterol heart diet. Some may benefit from medications to reduce chest pain and lower blood pressure. Some patients may be candidates for angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.

Continue to Coronary Artery Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Coronary Artery Disease References
  1. ALLHAT Collaborative Research Group: Major outcomes in moderately hypercholesterolemic, hypertensive patients randomized to pravastatin vs usual care: The Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT-LLT). JAMA 2002 Dec 18; 288(23): 2998-3007. [12479764]
  2. Bild DE, Bluemke DA, Burke GL, et al: Multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis: objectives and design. Am J Epidemiol 2002 Nov 1; 156(9): 871-81. [12397006]
  3. Brown TL, Merrill J, Hill P, Bengel FM. Relationship of coronary calcium and myocardial perfusion in individuals with chest pain. Assessed by integrated rubidium-82 PET-CT. Nuklearmedizin. 2008;47(6):255-260. [19057799]
  4. Thuresson M, Jarlov MB, Lindahl B, Svensson L, Zedigh C, Herlitz J. Symptoms and type of symptom onset in acute coronary syndrome in relation to ST elevation, sex, age, and a history of diabetes. Am Heart J. 2005 Aug;150(2):234-42. [16086924]
  5. Viles-Gonzalez JF, Fuster V, Corti R, Badimon JJ. Emerging importance of HDL cholesterol in developing high-risk coronary plaques in acute coronary syndromes. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2003 Jul;18(4):286-94. [12858127]
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