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Overview of Coronary Artery Disease Treatments

Coronary artery disease, after being diagnosed by noninvasive testing, is treated either with medications alone, or with medications plus angioplasty or bypass surgery. Angioplasty is the use of catheters to enter the coronary blood circulation and find blocked arteries. The blocked arteries are then opened up with a balloon and a permanent metal spring called a stent. In more complex and severe cases, bypass surgery (open-heart) may be necessary to repair or replace the circulation problems of diseased arteries in the heart.


Angioplasty is an in-hospital procedure where a tube is inserted into an artery in the groin or neck and threaded to a blood vessel that is partially blocked by a buildup of plaque. A balloon is then expanded to widen the artery at the location of the blockage. A stent is a medical-grade steel framework that supports the artery to provide improved blood flowIf appropriate, the surgeon can place a cardiac stent to help maintain the enlarged pathway. Angioplasty is an outpatient procedure that usually involves one night of observation in the hospital and a very short recovery time after discharge.

Angioplasty Stent
Balloon Angioplasty & Stent Placement

Bypass Surgery

Bypass surgery is an open-heart procedure in which suitable blood vessels are harvested usually from the leg and are used to replace (i.e. bypass) one or more diseased artery of the heart. After surgery, the patient will stay in hospital an average of five days’ for close monitoring and initial healing, followed by a recovery period that involves extensive rehabilitation for the next two to three months.