Coronary Artery Disease

The coronary arteries supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. When the arteries narrow, less blood and oxygen flow to the heart. This is called coronary artery disease (CAD). Lack of sufficient oxygen to the heart may cause angina or a heart attack. Most cases of CAD are due to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), in which fatty deposits called plaques build up inside the coronary arteries, restricting blood flow. 

Drug therapy is effective for the treatment of stable angina and for slowing progression of coronary artery disease. Unstable angina may require surgical intervention in addition to the therapies given for stable angina.  

To date, surgery is usually recommended for patients who have unstable angina that does not respond promptly to medical treatment, who have severe recurrent episodes that last more than 20 minutes, or who have other high risk factors for heart attacks. Surgery is also performed in people with severe coronary artery disease (e.g., severe angina, multi-vessel involvement, evidence of ischemia), particularly if abnormalities are evident in the left ventricle of the heart, the main pumping chamber.  

 You can do for yourself to increase your health, speed your recovery, ease pain, or aid rehabilitation. Included are materials on lifestyle and behavior changes, diet, exercise, body-mind approaches, and similar self-care measures.  


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