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What is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)?

Coronary Artery Disease occurs when cholesterol plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries of the heart (atherosclerosis).

 

What is a coronary angiogram?

An angiogram is an x-ray image of blood vessels after they are filled with a contrast material. A Coronary Angiogram (angiogram of the heart) is the gold standard for evaluation of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and can be used to identify the severity of coronary artery blockage. Sometimes additional testing such as Ultrasound imaging inside the coronary artery (IVUS or intra vascular ultrasound) or Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) needs to be done during an angiogram. If any blockages are severe enough, a balloon angioplasty or coronary stent can be performed.

 

What is Coronary Angioplasty?

Angioplasty is successful in opening coronary arteries in up to 90 percent of patients. Coronary Angioplasty is accomplished using a balloon-tipped catheter inserted through the blocked coronary artery to enlarge the narrowing. However, up to 30-40 percent of patients with successful coronary angioplasty will develop narrowing at the site of the balloon inflation (restenosis).

 

The use of newer devices such as intracoronary stents, atherectomy and newer medications result in higher success rate, reduced complications and reduced recurrence after percutaneous coronary intervention.