Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

What is it?

Coronary Artery Disease is the most common form of heart disease. As a person ages, fatty deposits cholesterol, calcium and scar tissue form a waxy substance known as plaque that clings to the inside of the arteries. This makes them narrower and lets less blood flow through. Without enough oxygen, the heart muscle becomes strained. In addition, blood clots sometimes form which can become attached to the plaque deposits. This blocks the arteries bringing oxygen to the heart even more.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Coronary artery disease occurs when the inner lining of the artery is damaged. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, smoking, a high-fat diet and an inactive lifestyle.

The development of plaque can lead to angina, heart attack or sudden death. Symptoms of this disease include:

  • An indigestion-like sensation of heaviness, squeezing, suffocating or burning feeling in the chest
  • Pain that starts in the center of the chest but may move to the arm, neck, back, throat or jaw
  • Numbness or a loss of sensation in arms, shoulders, or wrists
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or nausea

Symptoms may last only a few minutes and then go away with rest.

Our Services (Tests, Procedures and Treatments)

Diagnostic testing and procedures are the first step in establishing a treatment strategy. A doctor may order tests or perform the following procedures:

Treatment of coronary artery disease starts with managing risk factors such as reducing cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, managing diabetes when present, achieving ideal weight, getting more exercise and quitting smoking. Additionally, drug therapy, may be used which can reduce or get rid of the risk of angina and having a heart attack.

The following surgeries may also be performed:

St. Luke's Heart & Vascular