Coronary heart disease lifespan gas jet

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Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. Like all other tissues in the body, the heart muscle needs oxygen-rich blood to function, and oxygen-depleted blood must be carried away. The coronary arteries run along the outside of the heart and have small branches that supply blood to the heart muscle. What are the different coronary arteries?

Right coronary artery (RCA). The right coronary artery supplies blood to the right ventricle, the right atrium, and the SA (sinoatrial) and AV (atrioventricular) nodes, which regulate the heart rhythm. The right coronary artery divides into smaller branches, including the right posterior descending artery and the acute marginal artery.

Since coronary arteries deliver blood to the heart muscle, any coronary artery disorder or disease can reduce the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart, which may lead to a heart attack and possibly death. Atherosclerosis is inflammation and a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery causing it to narrow or become blocked. It is the most common cause of heart disease.

Coronary heart disease, or coronary artery disease (CAD), is characterized by inflammation and the buildup of and fatty deposits along the innermost layer of the coronary arteries. The fatty deposits may develop in childhood and continue to thicken and enlarge throughout the life span. This thickening, called atherosclerosis, narrows the arteries and can decrease or block the flow of blood to the heart.

If too little oxygenated blood reaches the heart, a person will experience chest pain called angina. When the blood supply is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack, and the heart muscle begins to die. Some people may have a heart attack and never recognize the symptoms. This is called a "silent" heart attack.

Stress test (also called treadmill or exercise ECG). This test is given while you walk on a treadmill to monitor the heart during exercise. Breathing and blood pressure rates are also monitored. A stress test may be used to detect coronary artery disease, or to determine safe levels of exercise after a heart attack or heart surgery. This can also be done while resting using special medicines that can synthetically place stress on the heart.

Antihyperlipidemics. These lower lipids (fats) in the blood, particularly low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol. Statins are a group of cholesterol-lowering medicines, and include simvastatin, atorvastatin, and pravastatin, among others. Bile acid sequestrants–colesevelam, cholestyramine and colestipol–and nicotinic acid (niacin) are other medicines used to reduce cholesterol levels.

Coronary angioplasty. With this procedure, a balloon is used to create a bigger opening in the vessel to increase blood flow. Although angioplasty is done in other blood vessels elsewhere in the body, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) refers to angioplasty in the coronary arteries to permit more blood flow into the heart. PCI is also called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). There are several types of PCI procedures, including:

Coronary artery bypass. Most commonly referred to as simply "bypass surgery" or CABG (pronounced "cabbage"), this surgery is often done in people who have chest pain (angina) and coronary artery disease. During the surgery, a bypass is created by grafting a piece of a vein above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery, enabling blood to flow around the blockage. Veins are usually taken from the leg, but arteries from the chest or arm may also be used to create a bypass graft. Sometimes, multiple bypasses may be needed to fully restore blood flow to all regions of the heart.