Balloon Catheter for Coronary Artery Disease - Medical / Health Care
Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as coronary heart disease, is the most common form of cardiovascular disease and the number one cause of death in the United States and Europe. According to the American Heart Association, CAD affects over 13 million Americans and accounts for over 650,000 deaths annually.
Cause: CAD primarily occurs when the coronary arteries (the arteries surrounding the heart) become narrowed by a buildup of plaque, including cholesterol, fatty deposits, calcium, and other substances. As plaque accumulates over time, the diameter of the arterial lumen, or inner channel, narrows, resulting in reduced or stopped blood flow. When this occurs in arteries supplying blood to the heart, it can cause chest pain, a heart attack, or even death.
- Age (over age 45 for men, and over age 55 for women)
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and low HDL (“good” cholesterol)
- Sedentary lifestyle
Symptoms: Reduced blood flow means less oxygen is getting to the heart. This may cause mild to severe chest pains or pressure, sometimes called angina, which can spread to the arms and upper body. If it is an abrupt closure it can cause a heart attack.
Diagnosis: If CAD is suspected, your doctor will typically use an electrocardiogram (ECG) test, Echocardiogram, exercise stress test, or coronary angiogram to diagnose.
Treatment: Prescribed medication and lifestyle change can be recommended. There are also other medical procedures such as Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG), but CAD is most often treated by percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), which is a minimally invasive procedure to open up blocked coronary arteries, allowing blood to circulate unobstructed to the heart muscle.
There are several devices that can be used in this procedure: Balloon angioplasty and stenting are the most common methods.
- Balloon angioplasty: Balloon angioplasty is where a balloon is placed across the narrowed artery and inflated temporarily to open up the narrowing by pushing on the wall of the vessel to restore blood flow in that part of the artery. After inflation, the balloon is removed and no part of the balloon catheter is left behind in the artery.
- Stenting: a small tubular mesh that is inserted into the diseased coronary artery to reestablish the blood flow. The scaffold remains inside the artery forever.
- Drug eluting stent: a stent that releases a drug which inhibits the arterial cell wall growth, thereby preventing further blockages from occurring.