Friday, July 29, 2011

Besides coronary bypass surgery, what other treatment options

A severely narrowed coronary artery may need treatment to reduce the risk of a heart attack. Coronary bypass surgery is one form of treatment, but there are other therapies that have been found effective among carefully selected patients.

Angioplasty, which opens narrowed arteries, is performed by interventional cardiologists. They use a small balloon-tipped catheter that they inflate at the blockage site to flatten the plaque against the artery wall. A thin wire is inserted into an artery in the leg and is guided to the site of narrowing in the coronary artery. The catheter is slipped over this guidewire and positioned at the blockage, where the balloon is inflated. After treatment, the wire, catheter, and balloon are removed. The hospital stay and recovery time for this procedure are shorter than that of bypass. But, about 35% of patients are at risk for more blockages in the treated area (called restenosis). If restenosis is going to occur, it will usually happen within 6 months of the procedure. Read more...

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