Living with Coronary Artery Disease
Manage heart disease through lifestyle changes and understanding the symptoms of heart attack. Decrease risk factors by not smoking, keeping cholesterol in check, exercising, managing stress and eating healthfully. Take prescribed medications and see a cardiologist regularly.
Medical Management of Coronary Artery Disease
Medications can relieve the heart from working so hard. Nitroglycerin widens arteries, aspirin can prevent clots, beta blockers improve blood flow, Ranolazine helps chronic angina, ace inhibitors improve survival after heart attack, lipid management helps control cholesterol that can block arteries.
A first line treatment to lower high cholesterol in patients with or at risk for coronary artery disease, statins also provide additional benefits to the blood vessels that result in a decrease incidence in cardiovascular events.
Aspirin Therapy in Heart Disease
Small doses (80 to 160 mg/day) of this common drug are prescribed for some people to prevent blood clots, decrease pain, and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Risks are stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, or bleeding in the brain during stroke. A doctor can make appropriate recommendations.
Heart Attack Care
Heart Attack - Recovery
It takes about two months for your heart to heal. It’s normal to feel depressed, angry or afraid. Focus on regaining your health. Pace your activity, adopt a heart-healthy diet, manage stress, exercise regularly, maintain cholesterol levels and see a doctor regularly.
Heart Attack - Treatment
Various medications can help break up artery clots and can reduce heart damage, widen blood vessels, decrease pain and help regulate heart rhythm. Procedures can open up narrowed or blocked arteries (angioplasty or stents). In severe cases, bypass surgery is performed to restore the heart’s blood supply.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
This procedure can restore normal blood flow to the heart by creating new pathways around blocked arteries, potentially using grafts from the patient’s own arteries and veins. An opening is made below the blockage. The graft is sewn into the opening to redirect blood flow to the heart.
Arterial Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts
Coronary artery bypass surgery involves using grafts from the patient’s own veins and arteries to form new passageways around blockages. Thoracic arteries in the chest wall are the best grafts, though surgeons continue exploration and perform using veins from the leg, stomach and forearm.
Off-Pump Bypass Surgery
Also called “beating heart” surgery, this procedure is performed without the heart-lung machine (used in traditional bypass surgery). The surgeon can stabilize portions of the heart and bypass the blocked artery while the rest of the heart keeps pumping and circulating blood to the body.
Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Interventional Procedures
Blockages are identified when a thin tube is inserted into the coronary artery and an X-ray is performed to diagnose the heart problem. Then, non-surgical treatments using balloons, stents or rotablation are performed to open narrowed coronary arteries and improve blood flow to the heart.
Angioplasty in Women
Procedures to open narrowed blood vessels and prevent heart attack involve inserting a catheter (thin tube) into vessels and passing a device (tiny balloon) through the tube to open the artery. Success rates are nearly equal for women and men, but women are more likely to have procedural complications and pain afterward.
Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)
This non-invasive therapy is an option for people with chronic angina (chest pain). Cuffs are wrapped around the calves, thighs and buttocks. Air pressure inflates and deflates the cuffs, feeling like a strong hug. The pressure stimulates blood vessel openings to create a natural bypass around blockages.
Doctors Who Treat
Doctors vary in quality due to differences in training and experience; hospitals differ in the number of services available. The more complex your medical problem, the greater these differences in quality become and the more they matter.
Clearly, the doctor and hospital that you choose for complex, specialized medical care will have a direct impact on how well you do. To help you make this choice, please review our Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Outcomes.
Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Cardiologists and Surgeons
Choosing a doctor to treat your coronary artery disease depends on where you are in your diagnosis and treatment.
The following Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Sections and Departments treat patients with Coronary Artery Disease:
- Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cardiothoracic Surgery Department
The Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute offers specialty centers and clinics for patients whose treatment requires the expertise of a group of doctors and surgeons who focus on a specific condition.
- Advanced Ischemic Heart Disease Center
- Preventive Cardiology Programs and Clinics
- Women’s Cardiovascular Center
See: About Us to learn more about the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute.
If you need more information, click here to contact us, chat online with a nurse or call the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Resource & Information Nurse at 216.445.9288 or toll-free at 866.289.6911. We would be happy to help you.
Becoming a Patient
Diagnostic tests are used to diagnose coronary artery disease and the most effective treatment method.
Our webchats and video chats give patients and visitors another opportunity to ask questions and interact with our physicians.
- Coronary Artery Disease webchats and video chats
- All Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute webchats
- Coronary Artery Disease and Treatments Videos
- All Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Videos
Additional information and resources
- Recovery at Home
- Support Groups and Information
- Visit Health Essentials - Read articles on coronary artery disease and healthy living on Health Essentials
- Follow Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute webchats and news stories on Twitter*
- Subscribe to Heart, Vascular & Thoracic eNews
- American Heart Association*
- Heart Healthy Women website*
- CTSNet website*
- Women's Cardiovascular Center*
*A new browser window will open with this link.
The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on those websites nor any association with their operators.
Why choose Cleveland Clinic for your care?
Our outcomes speak for themselves. Please review our facts and figures and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
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