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Treatment for Coronary Artery Disease

There are a variety of treatment options cardiologist can use to treat coronary artery disease, typically depending on your age, overall health and the extent of the disease.

Controlling prior conditions such as diabetes and sleep apnea reduces the risk of coronary artery disease. Lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking, losing weight and exercise will help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels which lessen the risk of coronary artery disease. Cardiologists can also treat mild symptoms of CAD with medication. If the disease and symptoms continue to worsen, the following treatment options are available.

Interventional Cardiologists are dedicated to preventing heart attacks by performing minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures in a cath lab. An interventional cardiologist will perform a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to create a bigger opening in the blood vessel to increase blood flow into the heart muscle. The interventional cardiologists work with specially trained nurses and technologists to perform cardiac cath procedures including:

  • Atherectomy - a tiny device on the end of a catheter that shaves plaque build-up in the artery
  • Balloon Angioplasty - a balloon is inserted through a catheter and guided to the area of blockage in the artery. The balloon is inflated to compress the blockage and create a bigger opening to increase blood flow
  • Stent placement - a tiny metal mesh tube is expanded and left inside the blocked artery to bridge the artery open
  • Laser angioplasty - a laser "vaporizes" the blockage in the artery

When coronary artery disease (CAD) blocks off the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, a heart attack occurs and muscle tissue begins to die. When this happens, these patients are taken to the cath lab emergently to open the blockage in the artery. The Cardiac Alert Team consists of an interventional cardiologists and specially trained nurses and technologists. The team will perform a cardiac cath with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to restore blood flow in the blocked artery to re-establish blood flow to the muscle tissue. Emergent PCI procedures include:

  • Balloon Angioplasty - a balloon is inserted through a catheter and guided to the area of blockage in the artery. The balloon is inflated to compress the blockage and create a bigger opening to increase blood flow
  • Stent placement - a tiny metal mesh tube is expanded and left inside the blocked artery to bridge the artery open

Coronary artery bypass surgery is usually recommended when it offers a safer and longer lasting solution for the blockages compared to the stents. A vein from the leg or an artery from the inner chest wall or arm is harvested to 'bypass' the blocked arteries in the heart. The heart is placed on a heart/lung bypass machine as the surgeon attaches the harvested vessel(s) above and below the blockage. This restores the blood flow that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.


Chronic Total Occlusion Treatment

Kettering Medical Center is now able to treat Chronic Total Occlusion of the coronary arteries. Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO) is a type of heart disease where an artery becomes completely blocked.

In the past people with a CTO were required to have surgery. Today, it is now possible to treat a CTO through a less-invasive technique called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or angioplasty. During this procedure a balloon is inserted through a catheter and guided to the area of blockage in the artery. The balloon is inflated to compress the blockage and create a bigger opening to increase blood flow.

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