Treatments and Procedures

There are many treatments for cardiovascular disease.  You may have had these procedures or currently awaiting consultation.  Hopefully, this article answers some of your questions relating to procedures. 

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)

This procedure is done in order to restore some blood flow through a coronary artery.  There are 3 types, a primary, rescue and an elective.  A balloon catheter is directed to the site of the coronary artery lesion, the balloon is then inflated to compress the atherosclerotic plaque and restore the width of the artery.  Around 90% of the time, a stent is placed in order to keep the plaque compressed.  Some of these stents are medicated with a slow release drug that retards the tendency of the intima to grow through the stent and re-narrow the artery.   A PCI is not suitable when there are multiple lesions found in an artery, or the site cannot be accessed by the catheter.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

CABG Heart Care
A CABG is used when angina is disabling and a PCI has not provided any relief, multiple coronary arteries are affected, or when a PCI fails.  A CABG restores blood flow to a part of the heart and should provide total relief from angina.  The procedure is a bit more complicated than a PCI.  This surgery is done under general anaesthetic.   Access to the heart is gained through an incision in the sternum.  The internal mammary, radial, or saphenous blood vessels are harvested, and used to bypass the obstructed coronary arteries.  During the procedure you are put onto a heart and lung bypass machine.   This surgery does require extended recovery, and it is common for patients to get muscular pain in their upper back and chest, there is risk of wound infection and healing problems, which is common with all surgery.  There is also the possibility of a clicking sternum, nerve compression, and loss of appetite. 

Valve SurgeryHeart Valve Heart Care

This procedure is done to repair a damaged valve or replace it with a mechanical valve or a donated valve.  This surgery aims to relieve the symptoms of valve disease, which include chest pain and shortness of breath, resulting in improved activity capacity and improved quality of life.  Most mechanical valves require long term anti-coagulation medication. 

Ryan Hodgkinson