Tim Russert Dies of Coronary Thrombosis – What Is It?

[UPDATED] TV newsman Tim Russert died today of what his doctor has said was a coronary thrombosis (it was originally reported as a coronary embolism)… so what is a coronary thrombosis?

A thrombus is a clot that can be made up of blood, cholesterol, and other material that forms in a part of the body and stays there (as opposed to an embolus, which migrates through the bloodstream). Thrombosis occurs when a thrombus creates a blockage in an artery, and in the case of a coronary thrombosis it’s one of the coronary arteries that’s blocked.

Since the coronary arteries supply blood to the heart. if the blockage is not cleared up the heart will be starved of oxygen, causing the death of heart muscle—what’s known as a myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack.

Russert’s internist has explained that cholesterol plaque had ruptured in an artery, causing sudden coronary thrombosis. He also said that an autopsy showed that Russert had an enlarged heart, according to NBC. And the doctor said that Russert had been diagnosed with asymptomatic coronary artery disease, and was taking medication and engaging in exercise to control it.

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