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Coronary Artery Disease (cont.)

Surgery

Sometimes coronary artery bypass graft surgery is needed to improve blood flow to the heart. During this surgery, a doctor connects (grafts) a healthy artery or vein from another part of your body to the blocked coronary arteryClick here to see an illustration.. The grafted artery goes around (bypasses) the blocked part of the artery. The bypass provides a new pathway for blood to your heart.

If you have surgery, you'll still need to make changes in the way you eat and how much you exercise. These changes, along with not smoking, will give you the best chance of living a longer, healthier life. A cardiac rehabilitation program can help you make these healthy changes.

Click here to view a Decision Point.Heart Disease: Should I Have Bypass Surgery?

Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a procedure that widens the coronary artery to improve blood flow to the heart. It is done using a thin, soft tube called a catheter, which is inserted in your artery.

Angioplasty is not surgery. It doesn't use large cuts (incisions) or require anesthesia to make you sleep.

Most of the time, stents are placed during angioplasty. The stent keeps the artery openClick here to see an illustration.. When stents are used, there is a smaller chance that the artery will become narrow again.

Atherectomy might be done during angioplasty. Atherectomy is done to shave away and maybe remove plaque in a narrowed artery. It is only done in certain cases.

If you decide to have angioplasty, you'll still need to make changes in the way you eat and how much you exercise. These changes, along with not smoking, will give you the best chance of living a longer, healthier life. A cardiac rehabilitation program can help you make these healthy changes.

Click here to view a Decision Point.Heart Disease: Should I Have Angioplasty for Stable Angina?

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