Explaining How a Blockage in a Coronary Artery Causes a Heart Attack



Explaining How a Blockage in a Coronary Artery Causes a HeartAttack

The heart is one of strongest muscles in the body. In a day, a heartis expected to pump blood all over the body and this exerciserequires a continuous supply of oxygen. According to the NationalInstitute of Health (2016), a heart requires a continuous supply ofblood for it to effectively supply blood that is supplied by thecoronary arteries. When the coronary arteries have an issue, thisdisrupts oxygen supply to the heart. Coronary arteries are in somecases affected by conditions that lead to a blockage. For example,the coronary artery may be covered by a waxy substance that is knownas plaque. This plaque attacks the coronary arteries that areresponsible for supplying blood to the heart. When this plaqueaccumulates over a long period of time, it causes a condition knownas atherosclerosis.

Source: NIH (2006)

As the diagram above shows, the accumulation of the plaque (the lightbrown matter) causes the blockage of the blood flow. The firstdiagram shows the overview of the heart but with a damaged coronaryartery. Diagram B shows how plaque and a clot block the blood supply.After the plaque has accumulated for many years, it may break openinside the artery. This breakage causes the fresh blood to spill overthe area that causes a clot. National Institute of Health (2016)study indicates that such clots block the blood flow of the coronaryartery, and when the clot is not removed as fast as possible, itcauses the muscle that is fed by the particular artery to die thatcauses a heart attack.


National Institute of Health. (2016). What is a Heart Attack?Retrieved fromhttp://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack