Coronary Artery Disease

Understanding Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a subset of cardiovascular disease and is one of the most common types of heart disease. One in six deaths among Americans is caused by CAD.1

CAD is characterized by the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial coronary arteries, which supply the heart with blood. This plaque buildup causes a narrowing, or blockage, of the arteries and decreases the amount of blood reaching the heart muscle. Over time, CAD can worsen and lead to a heart attack if the flow of blood is cut off to a section of the heart or if cardiac oxygen demand exceeds supply. Without treatment, a heart attack can cause serious health consequences, including heart failure, arrhythmia, or death.

CAD Diagram

Symptoms of CAD

As a result of the decreased blood flow, you can experience symptoms of chest tightness, pressure, or pain. Severe narrowing or complete blockage of the coronary vessels can lead to a heart attack or even death.

If you have chest discomfort or symptoms suggestive of CAD, it is important to see your healthcare provider so that he or she can determine whether you have a significant narrowing or blockage in your coronary arteries.

Symptoms of CAD can be typical or atypical and may include:

Typical Symptoms Atypical Symptoms
  • Chest discomfort, tightness, pain or pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness or pressure in the throat, jaw, shoulder, abdomen, back or arm
  • Squeezing, heaviness, or burning sensation in the upper body
  • Abdominal discomfort or fullness
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained fatigue or physical weakness
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Palpitations

Diagnosing CAD

Corus® CAD is a convenient blood test that helps your healthcare provider safely assess whether or not you have a blockage in your heart. Only your healthcare provider can order the Corus CAD test. Ask your healthcare provider if Corus CAD may be right for you.

  1. Go SO, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, et al. on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics--2013 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013;127(1):e6-e245.