Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) – also known as coronary heart disease – often results from the accumulation of fatty deposits or plaque within the coronary arteries. These fatty deposits may develop as early as in childhood and continue to thicken and change. This thickening, called atherosclerosis, narrows the arteries and can decrease or block the flow of blood to the heart.

The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. Like all other tissues in the body, the heart muscle needs oxygen-rich blood to function, and oxygen-depleted blood must be carried away. When the flow of blood through the coronary arteries to the heart is partially or completely blocked, serious problems such as a heart attack can occur.

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The symptoms of CAD will depend on the severity of the disease, but often include chest pain called angina.

Inova Schar Heart and Vascular is a leading healthcare provider for patients with coronary artery disease, providing an array of treatments depending on the progression of the disease.

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

Lifestyle modification and medication can be helpful in the early stages of the disease. Other treatments include:

  • Diamondback 360® coronary orbital atherectomy system (OAS)
  • Percutanious coronary intervention, also known as balloon angioplasty, is a common, very successful treatment to open blocked arteries. During the procedure, a catheter with an inflatable balloon at the tip is threaded into a blocked heart artery. The balloon inflates, compresses the blockage and opens the narrowed section of the artery to improve blood flow.
  • Coronary stent implants are widely used to hold open previously blocked arteries
  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) may be necessary for advanced cases of coronary artery disease

Our Team

Inova Schar Heart and Vascular is recognized nationally for its leadership in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease from its beginning to most advanced stages.

Each year nearly 2,500 percutaneous coronary interventions are performed at Inova to open blocked coronary arteries and restore blood flow to the heart tissue without open heart surgery. Because a large number of these procedures are performed using minimally invasive techniques, requiring only small incisions, many patients do not require an overnight hospital stay.

Most often, coronary artery disease is initially diagnosed and managed by a cardiologist. Depending on the course of treatment, other specialists who may be involved in a patient's care could include interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and vascular surgeons.