Coronary artery disease is caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries, and is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Why does coronary artery disease occur?
Plaque, a substance made up of fatty deposit, builds on the coronary artery walls. Narrowing of the coronary arteries may cause the following symptoms:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the left arm or neck
Plaque can also rupture, causing a complete blockage of the artery and a heart attack.
Board-certified cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating this disease. Treatment may include:
- Medical, including a daily drug regimen
- Percutaneous intervention, including the placement of stents to open any blockages
- Surgical, including bypass surgery
- Lifestyle modification, including a healthy diet, exercise and quitting smoking
At MedStar Heart Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, our board-certified cardiologists and cardiac surgeons:
- Conduct the largest volume of cardiac catheter procedures in the United States. Last year, our physicians performed more than 19,000 cardiac catheterizations in 12 state-of-the art laboratories.
- Performed more than 1,000 bypass surgeries; the most bypass surgeries in the region.
- Have the most expertise conducting intravascular ultrasound and other specialized diagnostic techniques in the Washington metropolitan area; a critical test for diagnosing coronary artery disease.
Our Level of Care
Included in the care our heart patients receive is:
- State of the art coronary care unit. A new 11-bed coronary care unit allows for a new standard of care for more than 1,500 admissions last year.
- Experienced Staff. Our physicians and staff treated more than 800 heart attacks last year.
- Speed of treatment. Our Center supports the largest acute myocardial infarction transport program—more than four helicopters—to swiftly bring patients to the Hospital Center for immediate treatment for heart attacks.
Technology for Treatment
Our excellent physicians use cutting-edge medical technology to effectively diagnose and treat coronary artery disease patients. Included in MedStar Heart Institute’s commitment to state-of-the-art technological care is:
- Use of “off-pump” surgical techniques. Off-pump surgical approaches refer to heart surgeries done on beating hearts, as opposed to surgery while on cardiac bypass.
As a national leader in treating patients using the “off-pump” approach in approximately half of coronary artery disease patients, our cardiac surgeons routinely operate on beating hearts. By using this technique, we may reduce potential adverse effects of cardio-pulmonary bypass.
|A Cath Lab technician looks at an intravascular ultrasound.|
- Catheter devices. Our cardiologists use the latest technological advances in stents and catheter-based devices to treat coronary artery and valvular heart disease. Our advanced imaging techniques allow us to diagnose and treat a wide range of vascular and structural heart issues.
Where to go from here?Next Topic: Heart Surgery
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