Understanding coronary artery disease (CAD)

Coronary artery disease, or CAD, happens when plaque builds up on the inner walls of your coronary arteries. This causes your arteries to harden and narrow, which decreases blood flow to your heart. As a result, your heart doesn’t get the blood, oxygen, and nutrients it needs, which can lead to chest pain or other symptoms—or, in some cases, a heart attack.

Learn more about coronary artery disease (CAD) treatment choices

Learn more about coronary artery disease (CAD) treatment choices

See which treatment may be right for you.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) patient stories

See how other CAD patients got back to living the lives they want.

 

Do you have complex coronary artery disease (CAD)?

Not all coronary artery disease (CAD) is the same. Different factors can make CAD complex.

Sometimes a patient’s anatomy or type of blockage in the artery creates a need for a more specialized procedure. Some of these patients may be told by their doctors that there are no treatment options other than medication due to the complexity of their disease. But specialized, minimally invasive procedures like percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) often can be performed by an interventional cardiologist who has received special training. 

Do you have complex coronary artery disease (CAD)?

Not all coronary artery disease (CAD) is the same. Different factors can make CAD complex.

Sometimes a patient’s anatomy or type of blockage in the artery creates a need for a more specialized procedure. Some of these patients may be told by their doctors that there are no treatment options other than medication due to the complexity of their disease. But specialized, minimally invasive procedures like percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) often can be performed by an interventional cardiologist who has received special training. 

How do doctors treat complex CAD?

Many of today's advanced, minimally invasive treatments have been designed specifically to treat patients with complex CAD.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is the latest minimally invasive advancement designed to treat complex CAD patients. PCI may be a treatment choice for patients who have previously been told their blockage is too complex to treat, are on medication and still experiencing symptoms, or may have previously been rejected for heart bypass surgery. So now there are solutions for people with the most complex coronary artery disease—even if a doctor previously said nothing could be done besides medication.

Who are complex CAD patients?

Complex CAD patients are patients with CAD who may have some of the following attributes:

  • Advanced age
  • Frail physical condition
  • Severely or totally blocked (or clogged) arteries

Chronic total occlusion (CTO)?

Chronic total occlusion, or CTO, is a type of heart disease where an artery becomes fully blocked for at least 90 days. This stops blood from getting to the part of the heart supplied by that artery. Without enough blood flow, the heart does not get the blood, oxygen, and nutrients it needs to function properly.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a minimally invasive procedure that restores blood flow to the heart without open-heart surgery.

Chronic total occlusion (CTO)?

Chronic total occlusion, or CTO, is a type of heart disease where an artery becomes fully blocked for at least 90 days. This stops blood from getting to the part of the heart supplied by that artery. Without enough blood flow, the heart does not get the blood, oxygen, and nutrients it needs to function properly.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a minimally invasive procedure that restores blood flow to the heart without open-heart surgery.

How to get treatment for your coronary artery disease (CAD)

Be sure to talk to your doctor to get started on finding the right treatment choice for you—and the right doctor to perform any necessary procedures.

 

 

Resources and Support

Take the Treatment Quiz Take the Treatment Quiz

Take the Treatment Quiz

Take an interactive quiz to find out which treatment options might be available to you

Download Discussion Guide Download Discussion Guide

Download Discussion Guide

Use this simple discussion guide to start a conversation with your doctor

Talk to a Patient Educator Talk to a Patient Educator

Talk to a Patient Educator

Learn more about Coronary Artery Disease and treatment options

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