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Procedures done for coronary artery disease

Atherectomy is a catheter-based procedure to remove plaque from the artery arteries. A catheter is introduced into an artery in the leg and guided into the coronary artery. On the tip of the catheter is either a high-speed rotating device ("burr"), or a sharp blade. The burr grinds the plaque into minute particles, while the blade shaves the plaque away. Following this procedure, a balloon angioplasty or stent may also be performed. An atherectomy is useful in cases where the plaque is very hard due to calcification, plaque has built up in a coronary artery bypass graft, or to remove of other difficult blockages. Coronary atherectomy removes plaque from the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle.
Angioplasty (PTCA)
Angioplasty is a procedure that opens blocked heart arteries, relieves symptoms of coronary artery disease and improves blood flow to the heart. During angioplasty, a catheter with an inflatable balloon at the tip is passed into a blocked heart artery. The balloon is inflated at the site of blockage, compressing the cholesterol buildup, and opening the narrowed part to improve blood flow. Then, the catheter with the balloon is removed. Angioplasty will open blocked arteries and improve blood flow to your heart. It relieves symptoms, improves exercise duration, and in some cases stops or prevents heart attacks. It is often more effective than medications in relieving symptoms in patients with a blockage in one artery.
In medicine, a stent is an expandable wire mesh tube that is inserted into a hollow structure of the body to keep it patent (i.e. open). Stents are used on diverse structures such as the esophagus, trachea, or blood vessels. Prior to use, a stent is collapsed to a small diameter; when brought into place it is expanded using an inflatable balloon and is then held in place by its own tension. Stents are usually inserted by endoscopy or other procedures less invasive than a surgical operation, which makes them suitable for patients with advanced disease for whom an operation might be too dangerous. Stents may consist of wire mesh alone, or be covered by a tissue lining.
Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG)
A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) or heart bypass is a surgical procedure performed in patients with coronary artery disease (see atherosclerosis) for the relief of angina and possible improved heart muscle function. Veins or arteries from elsewhere in the patient's body are grafted from the aorta to the coronary arteries, bypassing coronary artery narrowings caused by atherosclerosis and improving the blood supply to the myocardium (heart muscle). Bypass surgery creates new pathways of circulation around existing blockages or narrowings, allowing blood to reach your heart muscle again.
Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP)
Enhanced external counterpulsation is a non-invasive out-patient treatment for heart disease and, in particular, for angina (chest pain due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle). EECP is designed to relieve angina by improving perfusion in areas of the heart deprived of an adequate blood supply. EECP uses a device to inflate and deflate a series of compressive cuffs that are wrapped around the calves and lower and upper thighs. The basic principle involved is that of counterpulsation. Enhanced external counterpulsation is used to decrease pain from angina pectoris. Angina is chest pain or discomfort.

Topics in heart disease and cardiovascular disorders

Coronary circulation disorders
Myocardium disorders
Heart valve disorders
Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
Heart inflammation and infection
Congenital heart disease
Valvular disease (blood vessels disorders)
Procedures done for coronary artery disease
Devices used in cardiology
Diagnostic tests and procedures for heart diseases
Heart transplant

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005