Baptist Health Lexington: Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis & Treatments
Cardiologist William Hal Skinner, MD, defines coronary artery disease, outlines its risk factors, and describes how doctors use catheterization to diagnose and repair the problem quickly.
Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis & Treatments Health Talks Transcript
William Hal Skinner, MD, Cardiovascular Diseases, Lexington Heart Specialists
Coronary artery disease is a pathologic state where plaque or atherosclerosis (fatty build-up) deposits in the lining of the coronary artery. It starts to obstruct blood flow and function of the coronary arteries. There are many risk factors for coronary artery disease. Genetics are huge, diabetes, tobacco abuse, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and many of those are preventable by proper lifestyle, which is diet and exercise. Coronary artery disease begins to manifest with symptoms as discomfort or angina — that’s the word we use for heart pain from lack of blood flow to the heart or muscle.
Once we diagnose a patient with coronary artery disease, and they’re having symptoms, then we need to restore blood flow to the arteries. So, we do typically what’s called a heart catheterization, where we insert a tiny catheter either through an artery in the wrist or through the femoral artery in the groin and take pictures and find the blockage. If we catch them early, we can often open up those with balloon angioplasty and stent, which is a little metal mesh we put inside the heart to open up the artery. It is an extremely minimally invasive way. It is by far the best way and safest way. We do specialize in that at Baptist Health Lexington. Because the recovery is so quick, we can put a stent in a person and they’ll be home in four hours, no heavy lifting with that one arm for two days and then back to normal. It’s pretty incredible the technology available these days.