Coronary Artery Disease
So when one (or more) is blocked, your mind may immediately jump to the future. How serious is it? Can it be fixed? Will I be OK? Finding heart specialists you trust to treat your coronary artery disease (CAD) is probably top of mind.
Whether you just found out you have this condition or are seeking new hope for your severe CAD, our world-renowned cardiovascular providers and surgeons are here to focus on you and your needs. Cleveland Clinic is the No. 1 hospital for heart care in the U.S. Our experts are leaders in their field. We’ll work with you to find treatment options that match your needs and guide you through every step of the process.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Coronary Artery Disease Care?
Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.
Our providers see people with significant blockages or narrowing of arteries. Our team is experienced in finding the right treatment with the best results — even if you think you have no other options.
Since 1967, more than 100,000 people have traveled to Cleveland Clinic from across the nation and the globe to get treatment for CAD, including advanced coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), coronary interventions and redo heart surgeries.
Some of the nation’s top heart specialists and surgeons are at Cleveland Clinic. We’ve received many awards and recognitions for our excellent heart care, and our outcomes are some of the best in the U.S. Our team also consistently gets top marks on satisfaction surveys, and our patients regularly recommend us for heart care.
We believe the best care comes from a team of experts working together. That’s why at Cleveland Clinic, you may see providers from different specialties, depending on your needs. Your team may include our world-renowned cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac rehabilitation specialists and more. Meet our team.
Our providers pioneered cardiac catheterization and did the first coronary artery bypass surgery using a vein from someone’s leg. Our heart surgeons have also published landmark papers on new surgery techniques.
Our experienced cardiovascular nurses in our Talk to a Nurse program can help you find the right provider. They’re here to listen to your concerns and answer questions before you make an appointment. And they can explain possible CAD treatment options.
Not all appointments need to be in person. For some follow-ups, we offer virtual visits. You can meet with your providers face-to-face online using your smartphone, tablet or computer — from home or wherever works best for you.
Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease at Cleveland Clinic
Your coronary arteries supply blood to your heart. If they get too narrow or even blocked with plaque (fat and cholesterol), your heart won’t get the right amount of blood (myocardial ischemia). This can cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath (dyspnea) or other more serious heart conditions, like:
There are two main kinds of coronary artery disease:
- Stable ischemic heart disease is ongoing (chronic). You can live with it day to day but may have symptoms that get worse.
- Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a medical emergency when plaque opens up (fissures) and attracts a blood clot, which then blocks blood flow.
No matter what type of CAD you have or where you are on your journey, we’re here to help you make the most informed decision about your care, whether you:
- Are wondering what’s causing your chest pain.
- Have been diagnosed with CAD and want to learn about ways to manage your condition and prevent future blockages.
- Need treatment for severe symptoms and blockages.
- Want a second opinion about CAD treatments, particularly if you’re choosing between coronary artery bypass surgery and catheter-based surgery.
- Have been told your severe blockage or ischemic heart disease can’t be treated any further.
What to expect at your first visit
We recommend scheduling your first appointment in person. This gives you and your providers the chance to get to know each other. It’s important for you to feel comfortable with your providers and for them to understand what’s been going on from your point of view. That’s why they’ll ask you about:
- Any symptoms you’re having.
- When they started.
- If they’re getting worse.
- How they’re affecting your life.
- If anyone else in your family has had heart disease.
Then, they’ll take a closer look at you and your heart by doing a physical exam and checking your blood pressure.
Testing for coronary artery disease
During your first visit, your provider will likely order tests to help confirm your diagnosis and figure out how severe your blockage is. Tests may include:
- Blood tests.
- Cardiac catheterization.
- CT angiogram.
- Calcium heart scan.
- Echocardiogram (Echo).
- Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG).
- Exercise stress test.
Meet Our Coronary Artery Disease Team
When you come to Cleveland Clinic, you’ll have an experienced team of providers from different specialties on your side. This lets us make sure you get the most comprehensive and personalized treatment. Your care team may include:
- Interventional cardiologists.
- Cardiothoracic surgeons.
- Cardiac rehab.
- Respiratory therapists.
- Pain management.
- Nurse practitioners.
- Physician assistants.
- Care coordinators.
Providers Who Treat Coronary Artery Disease
LocationsOur healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.
Treating Coronary Heart Disease at Cleveland Clinic
Your treatment plan depends on your unique needs and how bad your CAD is. Your provider may recommend eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, exercising more and stopping the use of tobacco and recreational drugs. Our dietitians and cardiac rehab specialists can help you make lifestyle changes to slow the progression of your CAD.
Our preventive cardiology team can also help you find ways to manage risk factors, like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, angina, blood clots or obesity. They may prescribe medications to help your heart pump blood better and protect it from more damage.
Sometimes you may need surgery to treat your CAD symptoms and improve blood flow to your heart. Your care team will go over which of these options is the best for you and your unique diagnosis.
An interventional cardiologist will do this minimally invasive procedure, which uses a small balloon to open your blocked coronary artery and increase blood flow. Typically, your provider will place a small permanent tube (stent) to keep your artery open. Medicine is sent through the stent directly into your artery to keep it from getting narrow again.
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery creates a new way (bypass) for blood to reach your heart without going through the blocked artery. Your surgeon will take a blood vessel from somewhere else in your body — like your arm, leg or chest — and shape it to create the bypass and attach (graft) it onto your heart. We may need to do this with more than one blood vessel. That’s why you’ve heard of double, triple and quadruple bypass surgeries.
Bypass surgery can either be traditional open-heart surgery, minimally invasive or a hybrid, which combines the bypass surgery with other treatments you may need. The type of surgery your provider recommends will depend on your health and specific needs.
Traveling for Heart Care at Cleveland Clinic
Traveling for healthcare can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming. Whether you’re traveling from another city, state or even another country, we want to make your journey as easy and convenient as possible. From knowing where to stay, eat and shop, how to get to and from the airport to just finding your way around any of our hospitals, we’re here for you.
If you’re traveling from outside the U.S., our experienced and compassionate Global Patient Services (GPS) team will help you navigate the Cleveland Clinic health system. They can connect you with the healthcare providers you need, help make appointments, provide language translation services and coordinate follow-up care when you return home.
Taking the Next Step
Having coronary artery disease is life-changing. But you don’t have to make these changes alone. Cleveland Clinic is on your side. Whether you have to make big updates to your lifestyle or need surgery to treat your CAD, our highly skilled and compassionate cardiovascular team can help you achieve the best possible results.
Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s coronary artery disease treatment experts is easy. We’ll help you get care.
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