You may need medicines to treat CAD if lifestyle changes aren't enough. Medicines can:
- Decrease the workload on your heart and relieve CAD symptoms
- Decrease your chance of having a heart attack or dying suddenly
- Lower your cholesterol and blood pressure
- Prevent blood clots
- Prevent or delay the need for a special procedure (for example, angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG))
Medicines used to treat CAD include anticoagulants, aspirin and other antiplatelet medicines, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, nitroglycerin, glycoprotein IIb-IIIa, statins, and fish oil and other supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids.
You may need a medical procedure to treat CAD. Both angioplasty and CABG are used as treatments.
- Angioplasty opens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. During angioplasty, a thin tube with a balloon or other device on the end is threaded through a blood vessel to the narrowed or blocked coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to push the plaque outward against the wall of the artery. This widens the artery and restores the flow of blood.
Angioplasty can improve blood flow to your heart, relieve chest pain, and possibly prevent a heart attack. Sometimes a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open after the procedure.
- In CABG, arteries or veins from other areas in your body are used to bypass (that is, go around) your narrowed coronary arteries. CABG can improve blood flow to your heart, relieve chest pain, and possibly prevent a heart attack.
You and your doctor will determine which treatment is right for you.