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Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one type of heart disease that occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle (coronary arteries) are narrowed or blocked. This narrowing or blockage is most often caused by the buildup of fat (cholesterol) and calcium inside the walls of the arteries leading to the heart. This process is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. The buildup of fat and calcium inside the arteries is called a plaque.
Last Revised: April 6, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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