Coronary Artery Disease

Prevention and treatment strategies for your long-term heart health

When you have coronary artery disease, a fatty substance called plaque builds up in the arteries around the heart. This causes the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart muscle. This reduced blood flow can cause serious symptoms, including angina (severe chest pain) or heart attack.

Coronary artery disease affects over 16 million people in the United States alone and is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

If you have coronary artery disease you may experience symptoms due to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. Symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Catch Heart Disease Early

Many people ignore the signs of coronary artery disease and put their lives at risk. If you experience one or more symptoms, contact your physician immediately. Catching the condition early can prevent a heart attack, and allow for less invasive treatment options that offer quicker recovery times, less pain and fewer risks of blood loss or infection.

In the Event of an Emergency

If the blood flow to your heart is too little, the heart muscle begins to die and you have a heart attack. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 or get to a hospital as quickly as possible for treatment.

Reducing Your Risk

You can reduce your risk for coronary artery disease by practicing heart healthy habits, such as:

  • Eat low fat, low sodium foods as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
  • Stay at a healthy body mass index (BMI).
  • Do not smoke.
  • Manage any conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Overview

Coronary artery disease affects over 16 million people in the United States alone and is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

If you have coronary artery disease you may experience symptoms due to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. Symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Catch Heart Disease Early

Many people ignore the signs of coronary artery disease and put their lives at risk. If you experience one or more symptoms, contact your physician immediately. Catching the condition early can prevent a heart attack, and allow for less invasive treatment options that offer quicker recovery times, less pain and fewer risks of blood loss or infection.

In the Event of an Emergency

If the blood flow to your heart is too little, the heart muscle begins to die and you have a heart attack. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 or get to a hospital as quickly as possible for treatment.

Reducing Your Risk

You can reduce your risk for coronary artery disease by practicing heart healthy habits, such as:

  • Eat low fat, low sodium foods as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
  • Stay at a healthy body mass index (BMI).
  • Do not smoke.
  • Manage any conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

How We Can Help

Indiana University Health Heart & Vascular physicians provide lifesaving care for coronary artery disease. We work with you to develop a treatment plan personalized for your condition and lifestyle, including the following services:

Electrocardiogram

Also known commonly as an ECG or EKG, this test records the electrical activity of your heart, detecting any abnormal rhythms or problems with heart muscle function.

Cardiac stress test

During this test, you run on a treadmill while attached to an electrocardiogram machine to monitor your heart during exercise.

Cardiac catheterization

During a cardiac catheterization your physician injects you with a dye, and then watches through X-ray technology to see where the flow of the dye changes in your arteries. This allows your physician to identify where any plaque buildup is located, as well as how much blood is getting to the heart muscle.

Heart health education

Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising, improve your heart health. Weight loss or smoking cessation may also be necessary.

Medication therapies

Medications manage conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that contribute to coronary heart disease.

Balloon angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which a deflated balloon is guided through your arteries. X-rays are used to see where the blockage in your coronary artery is located. The balloon is then inflated, widening the artery and increasing blood flow.

Coronary artery stent

Stent placement uses the same technique as balloon angioplasty except a mesh wire tube called a stent is placed into the artery to keep it open.

Coronary artery bypass graft (heart bypass)

During this open surgical procedure, veins from other parts of your body are grafted onto your heart so that blood can flow around blockages.

Cardiac rehabilitation

After heart surgery, you will undergo cardiac rehabilitation to help you recover from the procedure.

Treatment

How We Can Help

Indiana University Health Heart & Vascular physicians provide lifesaving care for coronary artery disease. We work with you to develop a treatment plan personalized for your condition and lifestyle, including the following services:

Electrocardiogram

Also known commonly as an ECG or EKG, this test records the electrical activity of your heart, detecting any abnormal rhythms or problems with heart muscle function.

Cardiac stress test

During this test, you run on a treadmill while attached to an electrocardiogram machine to monitor your heart during exercise.

Cardiac catheterization

During a cardiac catheterization your physician injects you with a dye, and then watches through X-ray technology to see where the flow of the dye changes in your arteries. This allows your physician to identify where any plaque buildup is located, as well as how much blood is getting to the heart muscle.

Heart health education

Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising, improve your heart health. Weight loss or smoking cessation may also be necessary.

Medication therapies

Medications manage conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that contribute to coronary heart disease.

Balloon angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which a deflated balloon is guided through your arteries. X-rays are used to see where the blockage in your coronary artery is located. The balloon is then inflated, widening the artery and increasing blood flow.

Coronary artery stent

Stent placement uses the same technique as balloon angioplasty except a mesh wire tube called a stent is placed into the artery to keep it open.

Coronary artery bypass graft (heart bypass)

During this open surgical procedure, veins from other parts of your body are grafted onto your heart so that blood can flow around blockages.

Cardiac rehabilitation

After heart surgery, you will undergo cardiac rehabilitation to help you recover from the procedure.

Patient Stories for Coronary Artery Disease

Resources