T H E   C O R O N A R Y  A R T E R I E S

Notice how the heart supplies itself with oxygen and nutrients. Despite all of the blood which passes through the heart, it cannot use the nutrients from the blood which passes through its chambers. The heart muscle, like all other muscles, receives its oxygen from arteries. These are the coronary arteries, the first vessels to come off of the aorta. Blockage in these arteries is the cause of most of the heart disease in this country. Heart attacks, heart failure, angina, and sudden death all can occur from the blockages which occur in these vessels ("strokes" occur with blockages in the vessels to the brain).
Typically, there is one artery on the right side and one on the left, with the left one generally being the larger. The Left Main coronary artery divides into two sizable branches, the Left Anterior Descending (supplying the front of the heart) and the Left Circumflex (wrapping around the left side and back of the heart). The Right Coronary Artery supplies the back of the heart.
Read more about coronary artery disease and its treatment at other parts of the gallery.

ęCOPY;1997 HeartPoint    Updated July 1997

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