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Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests

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What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is atherosclerosis (plaque in artery walls) of the inner lining of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. A similar term, arteriosclerosis which means hardening or stiffening of the arteries is sometimes interchanged with atherosclerosis by some authors. CAD is a common form of heart disease and is a major cause of illness and death. CAD begins when hard cholesterol substances (plaques) are deposited within a coronary artery. The coronary arteries arise from the aorta, which is adjacent to the heart. The plaques narrow the internal diameter of the arteries (Figure1) which may cause a tiny clot to form which can obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle (Figure 2). Symptoms of CAD include:

  1. chest pain (angina pectoris) from inadequate blood flow to the heart;
  2. heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), from the sudden total blockage of a coronary artery; or
  3. sudden death, due to a fatal rhythm disturbance.
Picture of an artery clogged with cholesterol plaque
Picture of an artery clogged with cholesterol plaque
Heart Attack illustration - Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests
Heart Attack illustration - Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2014

Patient Comments

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Cardiology Question: Do you have coronary artery disease? Which of the tests mentioned in the article did the doctor use to diagnose you?
Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests - Symptoms Question: What symptoms prompted you to seek out the doctor who diagnosed you with coronary artery disease?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/coronary_artery_disease_screening_tests_cad/article.htm

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