Treatment for Heart Disease
Several medications are recommended to help people with heart disease. Some medications may be used to treat a risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Others may be prescribed to prevent or relieve the symptoms of heart disease. If you do take heart medicine, it's important to keep up your heart-healthy lifestyle because healthy daily habits will keep your dose as low as possible.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors)
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Beta blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Cholesterol medications
Advanced heart disease may require special procedures to open an artery and improve blood flow. These operations are usually done to ease severe chest pain or clear blood vessel blockages.
Examples of procedures used for the treatment of heart disease include:
- Coronary angioplasty
- Plaque removal
- Stent placement
- Open heart surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
In coronary angioplasty, also known as "balloon" angioplasty, a thin tube called a catheter is threaded through an artery into the narrowed heart vessel. The catheter has a tiny balloon at its tip, which is repeatedly inflated and deflated to open and stretch the artery. Then the balloon is deflated and the catheter removed. This process improves blood flow, reducing chest pain and helping to prevent a heart attack.
Compared with coronary artery bypass surgery, the advantages of angioplasty are that the procedure is less invasive, the patient receives local anesthesia only, and the recovery period is shorter. The disadvantage is that, in some cases, the artery closes up again. If this happens, you will need a second angioplasty or bypass surgery.
In most cases, coronary angioplasty is a planned procedure. But it is also used as an emergency treatment during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked coronary artery. The procedure minimizes damage during a heart attack and restores blood flow to the heart muscle.