coronary artery disease
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coronary artery disease,condition that results when the coronary arteries are narrowed or occluded, most commonly by atherosclerotic deposits of fibrous and fatty tissue. Coronary artery disease is the most common underlying cause of cardiovascular disability and death. Men are affected about four times as frequently as women; before the age of 40 the ratio is eight to one. Other predisposing factors are lack of blood supply; spasms in the coronary vessels, which cause and/or are caused by hypertension; diabetes; high cholesterol levels; adverse physical reactions to mental stress; and heavy cigarette smoking. The primary symptom is angina pectorisangina pectoris
, condition characterized by chest pain that occurs when the muscles of the heart receive an insufficient supply of oxygen. This results when the arteries that supply the heart muscle with oxygenated blood are narrowed by arteriosclerosis.
..... Click the link for more information. , a pain that radiates in the upper left quadrant of the body due to the lack of oxygen reaching the heart. A myocardial infarctioninfarction,
blockage of blood circulation to a localized area or organ of the body resulting in tissue death. Infarctions commonly occur in the spleen, kidney, lungs, brain, and heart.
..... Click the link for more information. (heart attack) is precipitated when the interior passage of an artery, usually already narrowed by atherosclerosis (see arteriosclerosisarteriosclerosis
, general term for a condition characterized by thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the walls of the blood vessels. These changes are frequently accompanied by accumulations inside the vessel walls of lipids, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. ), is completely blocked by thrombosisthrombosis
, obstruction of an artery or vein by a blood clot (thrombus). Arterial thrombosis is generally more serious because the supply of oxygen and nutrition to an area of the body is halted.
..... Click the link for more information. (blood clot) or arterial plaque.
or beta-adrenergic blocking agent
, drug that reduces the symptoms connected with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, migraine headaches, and other disorders related to the sympathetic nervous system.
..... Click the link for more information. , and calcium-channel blockerscalcium-channel blocker,
any of a class of drugs used in treating hypertension, angina pectoris, and certain arrhythmias. They prevent the calcium ions needed for muscle contraction from entering the cells of smooth and cardiac muscle.
..... Click the link for more information. are often used for control of angina. Aspirin, with its ability to inhibit blood clots, cholesterol-lowering drugs (e.g., simvastatin), and estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women all appear to have a protective effect against eventual heart attack. If the buildup of plaque has progressed, an invasive or surgical procedure is often necessary, although a combination of a strict low-fat diet, stress management, and exercise has been found to reverse the disease. The most common procedure is angioplastyangioplasty
, any surgical repair of a blood vessel, especially balloon angioplasty or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, a treatment of coronary artery disease.
..... Click the link for more information. with a balloon catheter. The use of the balloon catheter often can be complicated by cracks or weakening of the walls of the vessels and may lead to rapid reclogging of the vessel. Another procedure is coronary artery bypass surgery, which splices veins or internal mammary arteries to the affected coronary artery in order to bypass the atherosclerotic blockage and supply blood to the heart muscle. A cold laser may be used to remove atherosclerotic plaques with bursts of ultraviolet light. It does little damage to the arteries and leaves the walls of the vessels smooth, without the burning and scarring created by hot lasers. Mechanical cutting devices, called atherotomes, are sometimes to ream atherosclerotic plaque material from the vessel in a procedure called atherectomy.