Coronary Heart Disease Treatments
Once diagnosed with CHD , patients at UAB can be assured that they will receive the most up-to-date, personalized treatments available, including access to clinical trials where applicable. The most appropriate course of treatment will depend upon several factors including the patient’s age, overall health, and medical history.
CHD treatments can include:
Healthy lifestyle changes
Several risk factors can contribute to CHD, and modifying them can alleviate this disease. They include smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood glucose levels, lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity, and elevated blood pressure.
Several medications are available for patients with CHD, such as antihypertensives, which lower blood pressure; antihyperlipidemics, which lower lipids (fats) in the blood; anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners; and antiplatelet medications such as aspirin. In addition, medications such as nitroglycerine are frequently given to improve blood flow and decrease chest pain symptoms.
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) refers to angioplasty in the coronary arteries, and involves using a balloon to increase the opening of the arteries to allow blood to flow more easily. This procedure usually involves placement of a stent in the heart artery, supporting the artery open and reducing the risk of re-narrowing. Frequently, stents that have a medicated coating are used, in order to further reduce the risk of re-narrowing over time. Additional technologies are sometimes used in order to facilitate the delivery of the stents to the blockage, which include atherectomy, and laser angioplasty.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
This surgery is commonly performed in patients with CHD and chest pain (angina). The procedure involves creating a bypass by grafting a piece of a vein above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery to allow blood to flow.
Learn more about coronary artery bypass graft surgery »
Robotic Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
This surgery uses one of the leading robotic surgical systems to perform coronary artery bypass grafting, using small incisions to accomplish the bypass grafting endoscopically without splitting the breastbone.
After treatment, many patients are prescribed cardiac rehabilitation to maximize cardiac function and foster a sense of well-being. Patients may also consult with dietitians, diabetes educators, pharmacists, psychologists, and other specialists.
Learn more about robotic heart surgery at UAB »
Hybrid Coronary Revascularization
Hybrid revascularization combines robotic coronary artery bypass grafting to bypass selected vessels with placement of coronary stents to open blockages in others. This approach is accomplished by a carefully guided team including your cardiologist and cardiac surgeon and completely treats more widespread heart artery blockages than can be addressed with robotic surgery alone. This combined approach still avoids splitting the breastbone.
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention of Chronic Total Occlusion
UAB is one of the first heart centers in the US to use a new minimally invasive method to unblock chronic total occlusions (CTOs), which are essentially a complete blockage of the coronary artery for longer than three months. The new treatment prevents qualifying patients from undergoing traditional bypass surgery, which is more invasive and involves a longer recovery time. The treatment, called percutaneous coronary intervention of chronic total occlusion, involves using a device to cross the stenosis, catheter fitted with a balloon to break up the blockage, and stent.