Coronary Artery Disease
What is coronary artery disease?
Your heart pumps blood to your body, but your heart also requires blood itself in order to function. The blood your heart needs is supplied by your coronary arteries.
Over time, fatty deposits or plaques can build up on the walls of your coronary arteries. This condition is known as coronary artery disease.
The buildup of plaque during coronary artery disease causes these blood vessels to narrow, so less blood gets to your heart. Coronary artery disease can cause chest pain called angina pectoris and can also lead to a heart attack.
What are the symptoms?
As many as 30 percent of people with coronary artery disease will experience no symptoms.
Most common symptoms of coronary artery disease are:
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Pain in the abdomen, back or arm
- Chest pain during exertion
- Chest pain when emotional or anxious
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue with exertion
For many people with coronary artery disease, the first symptom is a heart attack.
How is it treated?
- Diagnostic tests. If your doctor suspects coronary artery disease, you will first be referred for several tests. Lee Health offers the full range of cardiac testing, including blood tests, electrocardiogram, stress EKG, echocardiogram and myocardial perfusion imaging.
- Lifestyle changes. Several lifestyle modifications can help prevent or improve coronary artery disease. Our doctors can provide recommendations to help you quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, eat healthier and exercise more.
- Medications. For many people, the treatment of coronary artery disease includes medications that can help to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, thin blood or slow your heart rate.
- Baloon angioplasty and stent placement. When a coronary artery is nearly blocked, a balloon angioplasty may be required to open it up and allow blood to flow. A thin catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in your leg. It is then threaded up to the blockage. A tiny balloon is then inflated, pushing fatty deposits to the sides of the blood vessel and restoring blood flow to your heart. Often a tiny wire mesh called a stent is placed inside the artery to keep it open so blood can continue to flow to your heart.
- Bypass. For severe blockages, a coronary artery bypass surgery may be required. A blood vessel from another part of your body is used to go around, or bypass, a blocked artery that supplies your heart.
What is Lee Health's approach?
Lee Health offers all of the most advanced treatments available for angina pectoris and coronary artery disease.
HealthPark Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center, Cape Coral Hosptital, and Lee Memorial Hospital have been recognized as fully accredited Chest Pain Centers, with door to balloon times (for balloon angioplasty) well below the national average. This level of care greatly increases a patients chance of survival from a heart attack.
The cardiologists working in our outpatient facilities offer a multi-disciplinary approach to prevent and treat coronary artery disease.