Heart Health

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is the most prevalent form of heart disease – the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. A lifelong condition, coronary artery disease occurs when plaque (cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances) builds up in the walls of your arteries, causing them to become narrow and restrict blood flow to the heart. While coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack, chest pain or stroke, it doesn’t have to. At Baptist Health, we offer a range of services and procedures to help you live a long, healthy life with coronary artery disease.

Coronary Artery Disease Services & Treatments

Arteriogram (SCA)

A Selective Coronary Arteriogram (SCA) allows a physician to look at three separate areas of the heart (left coronary artery, right coronary artery and left ventricular chamber) through a contrast media or X-ray used to illuminate the coronaries, for evaluation of blockage in your arteries. An SCA usually lasts one hour. Many patients go home from the hospital the same day, while others stay overnight.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (Open Heart Surgery)

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, sometimes referred to as open heart surgery, is recommended if blockages in the arteries cannot be dissolved or removed and blood supply to the heart is greatly decreased.

The purpose of a surgical bypass is to “re-route” blood around the narrowed or blocked section(s) and restore blood flow to all parts of the heart muscle. During the procedure, a blood vessel is removed from the leg or chest. One end of the vessel will be attached to the heart’s aorta; the other end to the coronary artery below the blockage.

Using a heart-lung bypass machine, doctors are able to rest the heart long enough for surgery. The heart-lung machine takes over the functions of the heart and lungs by cleansing and oxygenating the blood and pumping it through the body. After the surgery is complete, the heart and lungs resume this work.

A coronary artery bypass surgery can also be conducted without using the heart-lung machine by stabilizing the portion of the heart in need of repair while the rest of the heart continues to beat. During this minimally-invasive “off pump” or beating heart bypass, the surgeon can work on the repairs while the rest of the heart beats freely. The beating heart bypass is similar to a traditional bypass but offers an array of benefits for the patient, including less anesthesia, less of a need for blood transfusions and often a shorter hospital stay.

Coronary & Peripheral Atherectomy

During atherectomy, a catheter (a thin, soft, flexible tube) carrying a special cutting or grinding device clears blockage that has built up within an artery. There are three types of atherectomies your physician may use depending on the type of blockage found within your arteries.

Rotational Atherectomy uses an abrasive burr near the tip of the catheter to grind the plaque into small particles that float harmlessly away in the bloodstream.

Directional Coronary Atherectomy (DCA) positions the catheter window over the blockage. A rotating blade shaves the plaque and collects it in the catheter tip.

Extraction Atherectomy uses an abrasive burr near the tip of the catheter to grind the plaque into small particles that are collected on the tip and extracted.

After the atherectomy, your doctor may do an angioplasty using a balloon catheter to compress any remaining plaque against the arterial wall. An atherectomy usually lasts one to two hours.


A stent is a small metal coil or mesh tube that is placed in a narrowed artery to help improve blood flow to your heart. The stent permanently holds the passageway open and helps reduce the rate of restenosis, or re-narrowing of the artery. New tissue will slowly grow over the stent and eventually cover it completely. To prevent the growth of cells from re-occluding the artery following angioplasty (balloon procedure that opens arteries), a drug-eluting stent designed to release the drug Sirolimus, may be used. After the stent placement, you may need to stay in the hospital for one to five days and temporarily take anticoagulant medication to help prevent blood clots.

Angioplasty (Balloon)

Angioplasty relieves symptoms of coronary artery disease by improving blood flow to your heart. During angioplasty, a catheter (a thin, soft, flexible tube) with a balloon at the tip is inserted into your artery to widen the passageway. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times to compress the plaque against the artery wall. The artery will then be open again and blood flow to the heart muscle will increase.

Endovascular Vein Harvest

Endovascular Vein Harvest is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a small incision and camera to harvest a vein from the patient’s leg that will be used to replace blocked vessels of the heart. If you’re experiencing symptoms of coronary artery disease, including chest pain, arm pain, jaw pain, heartburn, dizziness or an irregular heartbeat call your doctor or request an appointment with one of our renowned cardiologists.