Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a disease of the blood vessels that supply blood to the muscles of the heart. Atherosclerosis, i.e., the deposition of plaque on the inner wall of the vessels, is the primary cause of the CAD. The plaques are characteristically fat and other cellular and protein deposits. Rupture of the plaques could lead to blood clots leading to narrowing of the diameter of the vessels and reduced blood supply to the heart muscle leading to oxygen deficiency of the tissues.
The disability and fatality associated with CAD have a significant impact and is estimated to be more than about 4.5 million in the developing world. In the western world, it is estimated that 11.5%, i.e., 24.7 million are living with CAD. It contributes to about 1/3rd of all deaths in individuals over age 35. Recent research by the WHO points to a fall of 4% in the death rates due to CAD in over 21 countries.