Coronary Arteries: Types, Importance in Cardiovascular Diseases and Coronary Artery Disease

They carry blood to the heart, supplying it with the oxygen and nutrients that the heart muscle needs to function.

The coronary arteries arise from the coronary sinuses immediately distal to the aortic valve and supply the myocardium with oxygenated blood. They branch out and surround the heart to cover its surface with a lacy net that resembles a slightly twisted crown.

They supply blood to the myocardium; that is, the coronary capillaries deliver nutrients to all the cells of the heart.

The typical configuration consists of two coronary arteries, a left coronary artery and a right coronary artery, arising from the left and right aortic or coronary sinuses, respectively.

Right coronary artery

The right coronary artery is one of the main vessels that supply blood to the heart.

It divides into the acute marginal arteries and the right posterior coronary artery. Other arteries that branch off the right and left artery include the left anterior descending artery and the circumflex artery .

The heart needs oxygen in the blood to function. The right coronary artery specifically supplies blood to the right atrium, the cardiac ventricles, and the cells of the right atrial wall, which are called the sinoatrial node.

Injury to the arteries or a malfunctioning artery can cause a heart attack. Diseases that block or impede the artery reduce the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart. Sometimes problems with the right coronary artery go unnoticed due to a lack of symptoms.

Left coronary artery

Supplies blood to the left and back side of the heart.

The left coronary artery has a short common stem, which branches into the left circumflex artery, which runs over the left atrioventricular groove, and the left anterior descending artery, which passes to the apex in the anterior interventricular sulcus.

Left circumflex artery

The circumflex artery, fully titled as the circumflex branch of the left coronary artery, is an artery that branches off from the left coronary artery to supply portions of oxygenated blood to the heart.
The circumflex artery divides into smaller arterial systems. The areas of the heart that it supplies can vary between people, although they always supply part of the left ventricle and the papillary muscle with blood.
In less than half of the people, it can also supply blood to the sinus nodal artery. With abnormal coronary arteries, the circumflex or other arteries can become deformed at birth. Such a defect can present a great danger to the child as it can increase the risk of heart failure. 

Importance in cardiovascular diseases

In particular, the branches of the right coronary artery supply the sinus and the atrioventricular nodes; therefore, blockage in these vessels can lead to conduction abnormalities.
Coronary artery disease is generally defined as the gradual narrowing of the lumen of the coronary arteries due to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that involves thickening of the arterial walls through cholesterol and fatty deposits that accumulate along the endoluminal surface of the arteries.
With severe disease, these plaques can calcify, enlarge, and eventually cause significant stenosis; a stenotic vessel has greater vascular resistance relative to healthy vessels.
A steady decrease in the arterial cross-sectional area can eventually lead to a complete blockage of the artery. As a result, the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the myocardium falls below the demand level.
As the disease progresses, the myocardium downstream of the occluded artery may become ischemic.

Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease causes impaired blood flow in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Also called coronary heart disease. It is the most common form of  heart disease .

The most common cause of coronary artery disease is vascular injury with accumulation of cholesterol plaque in the arteries, known as  atherosclerosis  . Reduced blood flow occurs when one or more of these arteries becomes partially or completely blocked.