Cardiovascular diseases are often managed with medicines and a healthy diet. If these measures are not enough, a stent implantation or a bypass operation may become necessary. Your doctor will select the treatment that is best for you. In doing so, he takes into account the underlying problems, where and how serious the blockages are and what risks you bear.
If an atherosclerosis is recognized in the early stage, medicines such as nitrates, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, aspirin or cholesterol (statins) can be prescribed. These medicines can slow the course of the disease or relieve symptoms.
Bypass cardiac surgery
A coronary artery bypass (also referred to as CABG for short) is a cardiac surgery. The surgeon removes part of a healthy blood vessel from your leg, chest or arm. This blood vessel is then connected to your coronary artery somewhat behind the blockage. This creates a new path for the flow of blood in which to flow around the blockage in the artery (bypass) to your heart. In a bypass operation, the patients receive a full anesthesia for the duration of the operation. There are two surgical procedures for coronary heart disease:
Surgery on a beating heart – Also referred to as “off-pump” i.e. the operation is performed without the use of cardiopulmonary bypass on a beating heart. This requires special equipment for the surgeon to operate on the heart while it is moving. The operation on the beating heart is only suitable for certain patients.
Operation on heart put – Most bypass surgeries are performed through an incision in the chest, while the heart is resting and ensures a heart-lung machine for circulation. This is also referred to as a conventional bypass or “on-pump” operation.
Minimal invasive treatments
For some patients, a minimally invasive coronary artery operation is an alternative to bypass surgery. There are three minimally invasive treatment options for coronary heart disease (CHD):
Coronary balloon angioplasty – Coronary balloon angioplasty is also referred to as percutaneous (through the skin) coronary intervention (PCI). A small balloon is used to dilate the artery so that a normal or almost normal blood flow is possible again.
Stenting – When a so-called stent is implanted to keep open the flow of blood through the coronary artery. A stent is a small, ductile tube made of a metal grid (stainless steel or cobalt alloy). The stent is attached to a small balloon that is dilated in the artery, as in angioplasty, to squeeze the plaque and restore blood flow.
Minimally invasive bypass surgery – The above-described operation of the beating heart can also through a small incision on the ribs was done, rather than sever the sternum (median sternotomy).
The best cure for a disease is known to be its prevention. Especially in the case of coronary heart disease, there are a whole series of possibilities to significantly reduce the likelihood of a disease by controlling individual risk factors.
It is especially important to develop an awareness that our modern, low-living lifestyle and our western dietary habits, in particular, promote vascular diseases in general and coronary heart disease in particular.