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Physician examining patient with a stethoscope

What is coronary artery disease?

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium build up inside your arteries (deposits called plaque). This plaque causes your artery walls to become rough, hard and more narrow. When your heart vessels are affected, blood flow and oxygen to your heart are decreased. Atherosclerosis can lead to coronary artery disease (CAD), and when the obstruction reaches a critical point, a heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction) occurs.

Northwestern Medicine focuses on treating patients before they develop a sometimes fatal heart attack, using advanced treatment options. If you have coronary artery disease that requires coronary angioplasty or bypass surgery, know that Northwestern Medicine consistently ranks among the top hospitals in the nation for exceptional interventional and surgical outcomes.

Meet the Teams

Our goal at the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is to achieve superior results for all of our patients and to help them return to normal activities while improving their overall quality of life.




    Northwestern Memorial Hospital
    Top 10 in Cardiology & Heart Surgery (No. 8)

    Schedule a Coronary Calcium Scan

    Take the first step to understand your risk for coronary artery disease and to prevent a heart attack.

    Looking for a Cardiovascular Second Opinion?

    It is important to know your treatment options and to have confidence in your physician. A second opinion can help you make smart treatment decisions.

    For the Cardiovascular Professional

    Learn more about physician referrals, CME, clinical trials and news from Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.