Coronary Artery Disease is the one of the most common types of heart disease and is the #1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States. One of the major reasons why this disease is so serious is because it develops overtime and often goes unnoticed until severe symptoms arise. If it is caught early by your primary care physician or cardiologist, lifestyle changes, medicines and surgical options like Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery can help prevent or treat this disease.
Diagnosis of coronary artery disease
Your primary care physician may recommend that you see one of the exceptional cardiologists in The CardioVascular Center
at Tufts Medical Center if he or she suspects that you might have heart disease. Once you arrive at Tufts MC, you will meet with your cardiologist who will perform a physical exam and diagnostic tests, including an electrocardiograph.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your cardiologist will discuss your treatment options with you and will recommend the best course for treatment. The treatment options for coronary artery disease include lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.
Surgical treatment options
If your cardiologist recommends surgery, he or she will help you set up an appointment to see one of our skilled cardiac surgeons at Tufts Medical Center. These surgeons have special expertise in using minimally invasive and open heart surgery techniques to treat coronary artery disease when other treatment options are not viable or have not worked.
Our surgeons use the Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG) to treat coronary artery disease. By using an artery or vein (graft), your surgeon will reroute (bypass) the blood flow to your heart, thereby improving its blood supply and decreasing your risk of a heart attack.
Coronary artery bypass surgery can be performed with the use of the heart-lung machine (on-pump) or without the use of the heart-lung machine (off-pump). During on-pump CABG surgery, your heart is connected to a heart-lung machine which pumps blood to the rest of your body while your surgeon operates on your heart. In off-pump CABG surgery, your heart is left to continue pump blood while the surgeon performs the operation. Your surgeon will determine which method is best for you.
In both on-pump and off-pump CABG surgeries, segments of vein and/or artery from your legs or arms are used to bypass the blockages in your coronary arteries. At Tufts MC, our cardiac surgical team members are experts at harvesting these blood vessels via a minimally invasive technique called endoscopic harvesting.
Additionally, our surgeons are experts at utilizing multiple arterial conduits for your bypass surgery, a technique that has been shown to increase patient survival and graft patency. In fact, our surgeons’ use of multiple arterial conduits in CABG surgery is significantly higher than the national average.