Blocked Arteries (Atherosclerosis)
UW Health Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Care staff treat artherosclerosis or blocked arteries, a common disorder of the arteries that occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard substances called plaque.
Eventually, the plaque deposits can make the artery narrow and less flexible. This makes it harder for blood to flow. If the coronary arteries become narrow, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop, causing chest pain (stable angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms.
Pieces of plaque can break apart and move through the bloodstream. This is a common cause of heart attack and stroke. Blood clots can also form around the plaque deposits. Clots block blood flow. If the clot moves into the heart, lungs, or brain, it can cause a stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism.
Diagnosis and Treatment