The narrowing of the coronary arteries can be due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This build-up is called atherosclerosis. As it grows, less blood can flow through the arteries. As a result, the heart muscle can't get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can lead to angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.
Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot suddenly cuts off the hearts' blood supply, causing permanent heart damage. Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias.
- Heart failure means the heart can't pump blood well to the rest of the body.
- Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.