Coronary disease is a condition where cholesterol, a fatty substance carried in the blood, forms a plaque on the lining of the coronary arteries. This can cause a narrowing of the artery, reducing blood and oxygen flow to the heart and causing angina or, if the arteries become completely blocked, a heart attack. Coronary disease affects nearly 13 million Americans and is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Coronary disease treatment may involve a variety of approaches, depending on the age, health and medical history of the patient. Traditional coronary disease treatment options include:
Medication: these include antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, statins and antihypertensives.
Catheter-based procedures: a common procedure is balloon angioplasty, which uses a balloon inserted into the artery to create an opening in a blocked vessel and increase blood flow. Stents may be used to maintain the opening. Another catheter-based procedure, atherectomy, involves cutting out the block area of the artery with a tiny device on the end of the catheter.
Coronary artery bypass surgery: CABG surgery is an open heart procedure where surgeons extract a vein from another part of the body and graft it to the diseased artery, rerouting blood around the blocked portion. Traditionally, the heart is stopped during surgery and the patient is connected to a pump that keeps blood flowing to the body.
Patients needing coronary disease treatment can find state-of-the art care at Brigham and Women's Hospital, one of the world's most advanced cardiovascular care centers.
Brigham and Women's Hospital: the leader in coronary disease treatment
In 2008, Brigham and Women's Hospital opened the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, a world-class facility for the treatment of complex diseases of the heart, blood vessels and circulatory system. An innovative research department enables physicians to offer patients the latest techniques for treating cardiovascular disease, including coronary disease treatment, artery disease treatment, and heart failure treatment. Services are offered with the care and compassion one expects from an organization that has consistently been recognized as a top hospital on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll.
Patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital may be eligible for one of several innovative new coronary disease surgery procedures used for coronary disease treatment, including:
Minimally-invasive bypass surgery, which uses only a small incision and does not require the heart to be stopped and the patient to be hooked up to a pump.
A drug-eluting stent, which uses medication in the stent itself to help prevent re-narrowing of the artery after coronary angioplasty.
Transmyocardial revascularization, a procedure for patients who are not candidates for bypass or stents, uses a laser to create small channels in the heart muscle, helping to supply the blood with more oxygen and nutrients. Brigham and Women's Hospital cardiac surgeons have been national leaders in the use of this surgery.