London: Scientists at the University College London have found that our heart has its own "back-up system" to help it function even if main arteries are blocked.

According to them, a series of tiny blood vessels called collaterals can act as a natural bypass system when arteries are clogged, daily reported.

The collaterals connect to the larger vessels in the heart and carry blood around blockages.
Patients with lots of these vessels were found to have a 36 per cent reduced risk of death from heart disease.

Experts hope the find means they can create new ways to slash the number of deaths from cardiac disease.

The researchers, who worked with colleagues from Germany and the US, said that collaterals could be a major new target for drugs and treatments.

The finding has been published online in the European Heart Journal.