While heart disease is the number one health threat facing Americans today, coronary artery disease is its most common form. Over 370,000 lives are lost each year due to blocked coronary arteries and the complications they cause. When nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood can no longer flow freely to the heart, it becomes weaker and less able to pump efficiently. The results can include complications such as heart failure, arrhythmia, and even heart attack.
In many cases of coronary artery disease, a modest approach of lifestyle changes and medication is used to help manage the condition and prevent it from worsening. However, when artery blockages are severe or affect multiple arteries, an interventional procedure such as one of the following may be needed.
Angioplasty and Stenting to Treat Coronary Artery Disease
Angioplasty and stenting to open blocked coronary arteries are common procedures performed on over 2 million patients each year. Typically, these two procedures are performed together and are used to widen the narrowed artery, allowing blood to once again flow freely to the heart. To start, the cardiologist will use a catheter to guide a tiny balloon to the affected artery. There, the balloon will be inflated to widen the space (angioplasty). Next, a mesh stent will be placed in the newly opened artery, helping ensure that narrowing does not reoccur.
Angioplasty and stenting are minimally invasive procedures that are typically performed in a cath lab and require only a small incision at the point of insertion. They generally deliver good results. Determining if a patient may be a candidate for angioplasty and stenting will be based on factors such as overall health, location of the blocked artery, and the number of arteries involved.
Bypass Surgery to Treat Coronary Artery Disease
Bypass surgery, or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), may be needed for blockages that cannot be accessed or treated using angioplasty or when multiple blockages are involved. It is currently one of the most common forms of heart surgery performed in the United States and delivers largely positive results. Following CABG, 85 percent of patients have improved symptoms and a lowered heart attack risk, as well as a lower 10-year mortality rate.
During CABG, an artery or vein is taken from another area of the body and used to create a bypass around the blocked section(s) of coronary artery, allowing blood to once again flow freely to the heart. Recovery from CABG is a lengthy process, including multiple days in the hospital and several weeks to heal fully. However, results from the procedure are largely positive, and complications are uncommon.
Treating Coronary Artery Disease in Louisiana
Whether you are at risk for coronary artery disease or have already been diagnosed, having a caring and skilled cardiologist on your side is one of the most important factors in successful treatment. Cardiovascular Institute of the South is home to a large team of cardiovascular health experts and patient-centered programs such as Chronic Health Management, all working together to keep patients as healthy as possible. To begin your own heart care with CIS, request an appointment by clicking the button below.