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Cardiac Bypass Surgery

Are There Other Treatments For Heart Disease?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 17:33

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

In addition to bypass surgery, there are two other types of treatment for coronary artery disease:

Medication

Medication is useful for patients with disease in the earlier stages with just one or two arteries that are partially blocked. It is also useful if for some reason your coronary artery disease cannot be treated in other ways.

These medications are designed to:

  • Slow your heart down to decrease its work
  • Lower your blood pressure so that the heart does not have to work as hard
  • Partially "relax" the arteries of the heart so that they can carry more blood
  • Lower the chance that a clot will develop in your arteries

Coronary Angioplasty

Coronary Angioplasty is a medical procedure that widens narrowed arteries in the heart without the need for open heart surgery.

In an angioplasty:

  • A specially trained doctor inserts a long, narrow tube (called a catheter) through a small cut in the thigh or the arm.
  • The doctor threads the catheter through blood vessels leading to the heart until it reaches the narrowed part of the artery.
  • The doctor positions a tiny balloon that is attached to the tip of the catheter right at site of the narrowing, and then inflates it with air. The pressure of the balloon flattens the plaque in several spots and allows the artery to open wider.
  • Often, a tiny wire tube called a stent is left inside the artery to hold it open.

Possible risks of angioplasty include:

  • Worsened angina
  • Emergency bypass surgery
  • Heart attack
  • Damage to the artery
  • Re-blockage of the artery
  • Death

Not everyone can benefit from this procedure; it's best for patients with only one or two blockages in their arteries.

For further information about angioplasty, go to Angioplasty.

Cardiac Bypass Surgery