Which is the right treatment for you?

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

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New minimally invasive therapeutic options

Until recently, it had been a challenge to restore blood flow for people with certain types of complicated coronary artery blockages. With advancements in medical technology, tools and techniques have advanced quickly, and offer outstanding, reliable results for many people with CAD.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, is a set of minimally invasive procedures that uses a catheter to place a small device such as a special balloon or stent within a blocked blood vessel in order to open the blockage and re-establish blood flow. There are many different PCI treatments to treat CAD, and it’s best to talk to your doctor about which may be right for you.

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Angioplasty

  • A coronary angioplasty is a type of minimally invasive procedure to treat CAD.
  • For this procedure, a heart doctor threads a small tube, called a catheter, through an artery in your groin or arm. The tube then goes to an artery leading to the site of your blockage. A small balloon on the tip of the catheter is slowly inflated to open the blockage.

This procedure can be performed with a balloon catheter alone, or can involve a stent implant for the heart.

There are risks associated with any angioplasty or a stent implant procedure.

It is important to talk about these risks with your heart doctor. They may include infection, allergic reactions, coronary vessel damage, blood clots and death.

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Stenting for the heart

  • Stenting is another type of minimally invasive procedure to treat CAD.
  • This procedure opens narrowed or blocked arteries.
  • During this procedure, a small mesh tube is put into your artery to widen it and restore blood flow to your heart. This mesh tube is called a stent. Once the stent is placed into the coronary artery, it expands with the inflation of a balloon catheter. The stent is left in the artery to keep it open and helps restore blood flow to the heart.
  • Depending on your needs, your doctor may use a small metal stent alone or choose one that is coated with a medicine that helps keep the artery from getting narrow or blocked again.

Stents that are used to treat CAD include:

Bare-metal stents: a metal tube specially designed to provide support to help keep the artery open after angioplasty

Drug-eluting stents: a bare metal stent coated with a drug, that is released from the stent into the arterial wall over the time when a re-blockage is most likely to happen.

  • The SYNERGY Stent has a special coating that dissolves after it does its job—reducing the swelling (inflammation) that naturally happens when a stent is put in—for quick healing. The part that stays in provides ongoing protection that helps keep a clear path for blood to flow to the heart.

Ask your doctor for more information about the options available to you.

There are risks associated with any angioplasty or a stent implant procedure. It is important to talk about these risks with your heart doctor. They may include infection, allergic reactions, coronary vessel damage, blood clots and death.

Learn more about stents »

What is complex percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)?

  • Complex PCI is defined as a PCI treatment developed to treat people who have complex blockages, complex arteries or those for whom bypass surgery is not recommended.
  • Recent advancements in PCI have given doctors tools and techniques to be able to successfully treat more people considered to have complex coronary artery disease, or high risk, than ever before.
  • This even includes people still having symptoms after being treated for CAD and people who have been told there are no other options besides medication.
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What is complex coronary artery disease (CAD)?

It means there is an abnormal blockage or other complication that a cardiologist cannot easily manage.

People with Complex CAD may have:

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

You may want to get a referral to a PCI specialist to find the right treatment choice for you.
 

What is heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass, or coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), is open-heart surgery. During the procedure, arteries or veins are taken from another part of the body and used to reroute blood around blocked heart arteries..

Medical management

Coronary artery disease may be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, exercise, diet, and medical treatment. There are medications that can help with chest pain due to a blockage, but they do not treat the blockage itself. Your doctor may prescribe a number of medications (aspirin, beta-blockers, cholesterol medications, etc.) to thin your blood and to help prevent blockages. You could also be prescribed an anti-anginal to treat chronic chest pain, such as Ranolazine. Ask your doctor if a prescription medication to treat angina, or chest pain, that keeps coming back is right for you or if you could be a candidate for PCI.

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Patient Resources

Take the Treatment Quiz

Take the Treatment Quiz

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

Download Discussion Guide

Download Discussion Guide

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

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