Arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle are called coronary arteries. They run along the surface of the heart (epicardial coronary arteries) and give out small branches (subendocardial coronary arteries) that run deep within the heart muscle and deliver blood to the heart structures.
The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (ischemic heart disease). It is caused by plaque building up in the coronary arteries. It reduces the oxygen and nutrients supply to the heart muscle and results in weakened contraction (myocardial hibernation), ischemia (angina) or heart tissue death (myocardial infarction or heart attack). But sometimes, heart’s collateral circulation may serve as alternate routes of blood supply and help the heart tissue to recover. In cardiac syndrome X there are symptoms of coronary artery disease in the absence of coronary arteries blockage.
Diseases of coronary artery may be diagnosed with electrocardiogram, cardiac stress test, echocardiography, coronary angiography, blood tests, etc. Treatment may include medications, angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.