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Post-mortem specimen of a human heart featuring an occluded (blocked) coronary artery; the blockage appears as the redder area at top centre. Branches of both left & right coronary arteries, which supply the heart muscle with oxygen, are seen below the surface. Total occlusion of a coronary artery typically occurs as a result of clot (thrombus) formation, often when the diameter of the interior (lumen) has been reduced by the formation of fatty atheroma plaque. As a result of the occlusion, blood supply to heart muscle below the blockage is reduced (ischaemia) or ceased, leading to the death of tissue supplied - an acute myocardial infarction or heart attack.
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