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How is Coronary Artery Disease Treated

There are four ways to treat coronary artery disease:


 1) Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) or angioplasty is a specialized procedure used to clear blockages within the coronary arteries—arteries that supply the heart muscle. Depending on the location and severity of the blockage and the patient’s specific risk factors, a balloon, as well as a stent or a stent with medications embedded within it, are utilized during the procedure.

An angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked arteries. A catheter with a special balloon is inserted into the coronary artery at the site of narrowing. By inflating the balloon, it opens and stretches the artery slightly, allowing blood to flow freely once more.

  Balloon Angioplasty UHN  



2) Placement of a Stent?

Stents are metal coils or tubes that are used to try and improve the results of your angioplasty procedure. Placement of the stent is a continuation of the angioplasty. As the balloon inflates, the stent enlarges and presses up against the sides of the blood vessel. Once the balloon is deflated and removed from the blood vessel, the stent is left behind to hold the walls of the blood vessel fully open. Once the stent is embedded in the wall of the artery, it will not move and you will not be aware of its presence. However, some discomfort or angina is normal as the stent is deployed/expanded. Make sure to inform your doctor or nurse if you are having any symptoms during your PCI.


Angioplasty Stent 



Individuals wishing more information on PCI on angioplasty, can read the Angioplasty: Information for Patients brochure.


3) Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery is the most common type of heart surgery. When medication and/or other procedures are not able to improve the blood flow to the heart, bypass surgery improves the blood flow to the heart muscle, which provides relief of angina symptoms and may increase life expectancy.

During surgery, the patient is connected to the heart-lung bypass machine, which takes over the function of the heart and lungs during surgery. A portion of a blood vessel from the patient’s leg, arm or inner chest wall is used to bridge the blocked or diseased area and to improve blood flow to the heart muscle.  


The vein or artery is attached to the aorta (large blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart) at one end and the other end is attached to the coronary artery below the area of blockage or disease. The diseased area is essentially “bypassed” and the coronary artery beyond the blockage receives the oxygen and nutrient-rich blood that is delivered to the heart muscle.

Coronary Artery bypass



4) Cardiac Medicines



Some of you went in to the hospital taking no medications and came out with a bag full of them. This can be overwhelming. You may not feel the impact of the medications you are taking, but they are working “behind the scenes” to optimize your health.

• Take your medications as prescribed.

• Take an updated list of your medications to all medical appointments.

• If you have questions, ask a healthcare professional.

• Always check with your doctor before you discontinue a medication.

Why are medications important?

  • Decrease workload of the heart
  • Prevent formation of blood clots
  • Protect heart while it heals
  • Helps heart heal in the correct shape
  • Increase blood flow to heart muscle
  • Maintain a “normal” blood pressure
  • Prevent further buildup of cholesterol
  • Treat and prevent angina

Click here for Introduction to Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation

Click here for Cardiac Departments

Click Here for Cardiac Services





Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
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