Your doctor may consider many options for treating your coronary artery disease, choosing the best treatment for your condition.
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You may need to take an antiplatelet medicine to prevent clots from forming after a stent procedure. If you need a stent, ask your doctor about a new option called the fully dissolving stent.
Calcium channel blockers
Calcium channel blockers
ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors
ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers)
It’s important to take your medicines as directed. You may need to take some medicines long term to manage coronary artery disease. Certain medicines may also help lower your risk for serious problems like a heart attack.
If your doctor believes a stent may be right for you, ask if a new option called Absorb—the only fully dissolving stent—is right for you.
Angioplasty is a fairly common procedure that lasts about 1 hour.
Angioplasty is called a procedure—not a surgery—since the doctor makes only very small incisions (cuts).
The cardiologist (heart doctor) uses a special type of x-ray to check blood flow and find blockages in your arteries.
The cardiologist inserts a catheter (narrow tube) into the artery near the blockage. The catheter contains a small, narrow balloon. The balloon is inflated to press the plaque (fatty deposit) against the artery wall. This opens the blockage and allows greater blood flow.
If needed, the cardiologist inserts a stent, and a balloon is inflated to expand the stent so it fits tightly against the artery wall.
Then the catheter and balloon are removed. With metal stents, the stent remains in place for life. But a new dissolving stent is now available to treat many blocked vessels.
Knowing what to expect can help you feel more comfortable.
Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for the procedure.
You might be asked not to eat or drink anything.
Take only small sips of water with pills that morning. When you get to the hospital, a nurse will greet you and bring you to the cardiac catheterization lab (or cath lab). You may be given only local anesthesia and medicine to make you drowsy, so you may be aware of people moving and talking near you. You might feel pressure when the catheter is inserted, but you shouldn't feel pain.
You may be in a recovery room for a few hours, under warm blankets. It's important to lie still after the procedure, to allow the small puncture in your artery to close. Pressure is also applied to the site to make sure the bleeding stops. You may go home in a few hours, or you may need to stay overnight. Plan to have an adult at the hospital who can take you home. Before you leave, be sure to:
The cardiologist (heart doctor)
cuts into the patient’s chest
to reach the heart.
The cardiologist takes part of a healthy
blood vessel from the person’s
chest, leg, or wrist.
The cardiologist attaches the
healthy vessel on both sides of the
blockage in the artery. This
healthy vessel, which bypasses
(goes around) the blockage,
lets blood flow more
freely to the heart.
This gives your heart more oxygen. The benefits start right away and continue for many years. Support groups and medicines can help you quit.
Regular physical activity can help you lose weight and improve your heart health. Talk to your doctor about starting an exercise routine.
Losing even 5 to 10 pounds—and keeping it off—can lower your risk of heart disease.