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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Treatment

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This information was reviewed and approved by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP (6/1/2019).

What is the Treatment for Coronary Artery Disease?

The key to treating coronary artery disease (CAD) is to prevent it, or at least reduce the risk of serious cardiac events (such as heart attacks). This is usually done through diet, moderate exercise and a healthy, non-smoking and active lifestyle. In addition to several lifestyle changes, your health care provider may recommend various medications, medical procedures or rehabilitation to treat coronary artery disease (CAD).

CAD Medications

Medicines can be important to:

Medicines used to treat CAD include anticoagulants, aspirin, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, nitroglycerin, glycoprotein IIb-IIIa, statins, and fish oil and other supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids.


Coronary Artery Disease Medical Procedures

Severe cases of CAD may warrant medical procedures, such as:

  • Angioplasty: This procedure opens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. A thin tube with a balloon or other device is threaded through a blood vessel until it reaches the blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated, pushing the plaque against the artery wall, which widens the artery. The procedure helps to restore blood flow to the heart, alleviate chest pain and decrease the chance of a heart attack.

  • CABG (coronary artery bypass graft): This procedure creates new routes for arteries and veins so they can bypass the clogged coronary arteries and reach the heart.


Rehabilitation for CAD

Cardiac rehabilitation is another treatment option, usually combined with medicine and surgical methods. Cardiac rehab usually consists of:

  • Exercise training. Learning how to exercise safely, building muscle strength, and improving stamina can be very important in strengthening your heart and making it healthier.

  • Education, counseling and training. Patient education seeks to inform you of anything you may want to know about your condition, helping you make the best decisions possible to maintain good health. Counseling is available to help you cope with the stress of the condition and managing lifestyle changes.


What do we do at National Jewish Health?

We provide comprehensive cardiology evaluation and consultation and non-invasive cardiac testing. We evaluate and treat heart problems such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart valve problems and heart failure. In addition to traditional heart problems, we offer expertise in many other focus areas, including evaluation of patients with shortness of breath with exercise, sarcoid of the heart, diastolic dysfunction and secondary pulmonary hypertension.


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