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What to Know About Non-Surgical Procedures for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Medically Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 21, 2021

Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is a medical condition in which blood flow to the heart is cut off or reduced through plaque buildup inside the arteries. Untreated, the plaque inside your arteries can harden and lead to shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and possibly a heart attack. CAD may be treated with bypass surgery or with non-surgical procedures called angioplasties and stent placements.

Read more to learn about these non-surgical (or non-invasive) procedures for CAD. 

What Are Non-Invasive Treatments for CAD?

The two most common non-surgical methods for treating CAD are: 

  • Angioplasty or balloon angioplasty. To begin this treatment, the doctor will thread a balloon through tubing which is threaded into your coronary arteries. The balloon will then be inflated in the areas of your arteries that have blockages. Usually, this procedure is done in combination with a stent that further opens up the artery. This heart blockage treatment without surgery can take anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours. It is sometimes done during an emergency such as a heart attack. 
  • Stent Placement. A procedure in which your medical team takes a wire mesh tube and permanently places it inside your artery. This is done in combination with an angioplasty. Coronary blockages and buildups can happen even after you have gotten a stent. These are called “restenosis.” Stents hold the artery open, guide more blood flow to the heart muscle, and reduce chest pain. 

Show Sources

SOURCES: 

American Heart Association: “Heart Procedures and Surgeries.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Coronary Artery Disease.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Coronary Artery Disease Treatment.”

Mayo Clinic: “Coronary artery disease.”

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