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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Surgery techniques include keyhole approaches using port holes and smaller incisions, and robotic-assisted surgery. Minimally invasive surgeries involve smaller scars, reduced risk of infection, less bleeding, less pain and trauma, decreased hospital stays and faster recovery.
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.
This technique uses the smallest incisions (less than 2 inches). Robotic arms open the sac surrounding the heart, and remove the mammary artery through the incision. In comparison, traditional open-heart surgery requires a 6- to 8-inch incision in the sternum to operate.
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 and Vascular Institute Outcomes.
Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute Cardiologists and Surgeons
Choosing a doctor to treat your coronary artery disease depends on where you are in your diagnosis and treatment.
Click on the following links to learn more about Sections and Departments treat patients with Coronary Artery Disease:
The Miller Family Heart and Vascular 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.
See: About Us to learn more about the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.
If you need more information, click here to contact us, chat online with a nurse or call the Miller Family Heart and Vascular 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.
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Additional information and resources
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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.