Coronary artery disease means narrowing of
the coronary arteries (arteries that supply blood
to the heart). This narrowing is due to a buildup in the walls of the arteries
of plaque (deposits made up of cholesterol, other
fats, and calcium)—a process called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). If a plaque becomes delicate and breaks,
a blood clot will quickly form that can block blood flow in the artery and
may lead to a myocardial infarction (death of the
heart muscle area supplied by the blocked artery), often referred to as a heart attack. The November 24, 2004, issue of JAMA includes an article about coronary artery disease.