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USC - University of Southern California Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
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Glossary of Terms

Coronary Artery Disease / Coronary Disease
A disease state of the coronary arteries, which is a consequence of a more generalized disease process known as atherosclerosis, commonly referred to as "hardening of the arteries". Coronary artery disease results from a buildup of minerals, fatty deposits and other blood components in the walls of the arteries. As this buildup continues, the lumen, or opening, of the artery becomes progressively smaller and eventually becomes narrow enough to affect the flow of blood through the artery. If the flow of blood is significantly impaired for a long enough period of time the heart muscle can become compromised and a heart attack ensues.


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