Coronary artery disease (CAD), or simply heart disease, is the number one killer in America. While coronary artery disease has no known cure, medical advances are helping more patients diagnosed with CAD live long, full lives.
CAD is a narrowing of the blood vessels (coronary arteries) that supply oxygen and blood to the heart. It’s often caused when plaque (cholesterol substances) accumulates on the artery walls, causing them to narrow, resulting in less blood flow to the heart. Sometimes a clot may form, which can obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Coronary heart disease commonly causes chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart attack.
If fatty deposit build-up has left the blood vessels very narrow, or if symptoms are not responding well enough to medications, your healthcare team will discuss one of the following surgical procedures (based on the severity of your disease) as an option to open up or replace blocked arteries:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting/surgery (CABG) – In this surgical procedure, your surgeon creates a graft to bypass the blocked artery by using a vessel from another part of the body. The bypass graft can be a vein from the leg or an inner chest-wall artery. This procedure is the most commonly-performed heart operation in the United States.
- Laser surgery – Your surgeon makes several tiny holes in the heart muscle using a laser. These encourage the formation of new blood vessels in the affected heart muscle.