Coronary artery disease is also known as 'ischaemic heart disease' and occurs when a fatty substance called 'atheroma' develops on the inside of an artery.
The build up of atheroma in an artery means that it becomes narrower. A narrowed artery will only let a limited amount of blood reach the heart muscle and can cause angina.
Testing and treatments
There are many tests and treatments that are used to identify and treat coronary artery disease.
This is a test where a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel to look at the main arteries to see where there are any narrowed arteries. It can also tell the doctor how serious the narrowing is.
Coronary calcification scan
This is a type of X-ray that lets us look at cross sections of the heart. We take images during the scan to show the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries. Calcium in the arteries can be a sign of coronary artery disease, and this scan can help us decide what the best treatment for you is.
CT coronary angiography scan
This is another type of scan that can allow us to see detailed images of the heart and coronary arteries and to see if there is any narrowing. This is a non-invasive scan, which reduces the risk of complication, and the scan should only take around 15 minutes to complete.
Exercise tolerance (stress) test
This test checks your symptoms, heart rhythm and blood pressure while you exercise. It helps us to see how your heart is working whilst you exercise, and this is used as part of a multiple screening programme for coronary artery disease.
This is more than one test, but these tests help to diagnose arrhythmias, coronary heart disease and heart failure. Most patients will have testing done with the non-invasive cardiology team, so there is nothing to worry about.
Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that unblocks a coronary artery, using a catheter and a small balloon that is attached. It uses X-rays to guide it to the right place, and when it is inflated it helps to improve blood supply to the heart.
Endoscopic vein harvesting
This is a part of a larger procedure called coronary artery bypass graft. This procedure involves taking a healthy artery from another part of the body, and attaching it to where the coronary artery is blocked. This helps improve blood flow.
Coronary artery bypass graft
This procedure creates a new 'pathway' for blood flow around the heart. It helps to create more blood flow where there was a limited supply before the operation.
MIDCAB/MINICAB bypass surgery
This is a different procedure to a CABG as it only involves only one graft at the front of the heart. It will only involve a small incision under the left breast area of your chest, and most patients spend less time in hospital with this operation.
There are many types of heart surgery that are used for treating coronary artery disease. They are all a little different to the others, but all have the same purpose of increasing blood flow in the heart and improving its function.