A Coronary thrombosis is the term used when a blood clot or thrombus completely or partially blocks one of the coronary arteries. It is particularly life threatening, as the coronary arteries are the hearts main blood supply.
By blocking one artery, reducing the blood supply to the heart muscle itself, will lead inevitably to a strain on the heart. The lining of the arteries are sometimes so badly coated with a fatty plaque known as atheroma, that the central part of the vessel (lumen) becomes grossly narrowed.
A thrombus is formed when a part of a clot is dislodged from a larger clot at the site of an injury or where blood flow has been greatly reduced allowing a clot to form. This clot will then flow down an artery until it reaches an area where the lining has been thickened and the lumen reduced, it could then end up completely blocking the artery and cutting off the blood supply to the heart muscle.
On a small scale, if this happens and the heart muscle becomes starved of blood whilst under strain Angina symptoms will occur acting as a warning that something is wrong.
Various reasons cause the increase in clotting formation and atheroma formation. The commonest is smoking, diets too heavily laden in animal fats, the oral contraceptive and hereditary factors.
Treatment can be geared to anticoagulants (drugs that thin the blood), but with atheroma formation, the underlying cause has to be addressed. In severe cases where more than one artery has become blocked, it may be necessary to undergo coronary bypass surgery.
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