What is atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis (sometimes called “hardening” or “clogging” of the arteries) is the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits (called plaque) on the inner walls of the arteries that restrict blood flow to the heart. Atherosclerosis can affect the arteries in the heart, legs, brain, kidneys and other organs.
Atherosclerotic heart disease (coronary artery disease) is the narrowing or blockage of the coronary (heart) arteries. Your coronary arteries are shaped like hollow tubes through which blood can flow freely. Normally, the walls of the coronary arteries are smooth and elastic. Atherosclerosis occurs when the normal lining of the arteries deteriorates, the walls of the arteries thicken and deposits of fat and plaque build-up on the coronary artery walls, blocking or limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
Without adequate blood, the heart becomes starved of oxygen and the vital nutrients it needs to work properly. This can cause chest pain called angina. When one or more of the coronary arteries are completely blocked, a heart attack (injury to the heart muscle) may occur.
Experience is important.
Catheterization and interventional procedures require special expertise. Physician credentials and experience lead to better outcomes. Coronary angiography was developed at Cleveland Clinic in 1958 by F. Mason Sones, MD. The F. Mason Sones Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory features eight catheterization laboratories. Please review our outcomes
The staff at Cleveland Clinic, the #1 heart hospital in the nation as ranked by U.S.News and World Report, has prepared a free detailed overview on Coronary Artery Disease and its treatment options, including medical, interventional and surgical options.