Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of cardiovascular disease, and one of the main causes of death in the UK and worldwide. Also, it is usually the cause of heart attack.

CHD involves a narrowing or blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. It is due to a gradual build-up of fatty material in the arteries – this disease process is called atherosclerosis and the fatty deposits are called atheroma.


There are many risk factors that increase the risk of developing CHD, including:

  • lifestyle risk factors (for example, diet, inactivity, smoking, obesity, alcohol)
  • medical risk factors (for example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes)


There are also risk factors that cannot be changed such as age, gender, family history and ethnicity.


A CT scan or coronary angiogram may be carried out to see if any of the coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked. This involves injecting a special dye into the vein (CT scan) or coronary arteries (coronary angiogram) which shows up on an X-ray.


Treatment may involve changing lifestyle, or medication to help with symptoms and reduce the risk of a heart attack. In some cases, angioplasty and the insertion of stents to open the blocked coronary artery, or heart bypass surgery, may be necessary.

Relevant Research

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Through pioneering research and accessible education, Heart Research UK aims to reduce the number of people developing and dying from heart disease, while improving and extending the lives of those affected.

As a charity, we can only do this with your help.

People with certain types of heart disease have a higher risk of developing serious complications from Covid-19 and there is evidence that the virus can cause damage to the heart.

We must continue to do all we can to prevent and treat heart disease.

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