Because the heart must continually beat, the coronary arteries serve a critical role, supplying the constantly active heart muscle with oxygenated blood. As we zoom in to observe the interior of this diseased coronary artery, notice the partially restricted blood flow due to the atherosclerotic plaque in the arterial wall. If part of this plaque ruptures, a thrombus forms and may grow and occlude the vessel. The thrombus detaches causing an embolism, obstructing the blood flow through the artery. Since the supply of blood has been obstructed from reaching the region of the heart supplied by this artery, the myocardial cells become ischemic resulting in damage to the heart muscle. Symptoms of the myocardial infarction may include: shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, intense prolonged chest pains, nausea, fainting, intense sweating, and pain in the left shoulder, arm, jaw and back.