Ischaemic Heart Disease

Ischaemia means an inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body, especially the heart muscles (Simpson & Weiner, 1989).


This happens when plaques and fatty deposits build up in the artery walls, narrowing the artery and restricting blood flow.

This is a process called Atherosclerosis which is shown in the pictures below (Heart Foundation, 2014). 


This lack of blood flow can cause angina, a cramp-like feeling in the chest.

Blood clots can form easily on the arterial walls on the atherosclerotic plaques.

Blood clots will then block the narrowed artery and may cause a heart attack or stroke.

The changed structure of the artery will result in altered blood flow, which causes a weakening in the arterial wall and may

result in an aneurysm.


An aneurysm is a weakening of the arterial wall which results in the wall ballooning out. As the aneurysm grows, there is a greater risk

of rupture, which can lead to severe blood loss or embolism.

Healthy free flowing artery 

Partial blockage due to build

up of plaque and fatty deposits.

Impaired blood flow

Complete blockage of artery,

no blood flow, severe heart attack.


This also applies to stroke.

A stroke involves impaired blood flow to the brain whereas a heart attack involves lack of blood flow to the muscle of the heart.


© 2014 by Sarah Luskie & Madeleine Fisher created with

(MouseClique, 2013)