Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when the heart can't get enough blood and oxygen. This is caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, along the inner walls of the arteries.
Coronary artery disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, is the most common cause of heart attack.
Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors
Risk factors for coronary artery disease include the following:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms
Symptoms, which can differ between men and women, can include the following:
- Angina (chest pain)
- Men and women may experience different kinds of chest pain that indicate disease
- Shortness of breath
- Pain that extends to your shoulders, neck, arms, back or jaw
Treatment for Coronary Artery Disease at RUSH
Experts at RUSH draw on their decades of experience to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease. We can also provide you with a second opinion if you need one.
If you are diagnosed with coronary artery disease, you may need one or more of these treatments:
- Changes to your diet that help you control cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Statins, medications that slow down or prevent the progression of coronary artery disease.
- Beta blockers, medications used to slow down the heart rate, reducing your heart's need for oxygen and improving the supply of blood to your heart.
- Calcium channel blockers, a group of medications that can reduce the frequency and severity of your chest pain.
- Aspirin to help prevent blood clots from forming.
- Other medications, such as ACE inhibitors to stop your body from producing a chemical that narrows the blood vessels.
- Angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure to increase blood flow to your heart.
- Bypass surgery to create a new path for blood and oxygen to get to your heart.
- Cardiac rehab to get you back to a healthier, active life after a heart attack or bypass surgery.
- Exercise to reach a healthy weight and keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check.
RUSH Excellence in Coronary Artery Disease Care
- Among the best in the U.S.: RUSH's heart program is consistently ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
- Esteemed accreditation: RUSH University Medical Center received Mission: Lifeline STEMI Accreditation, provided through a partnership between the American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. To earn this accreditation, hospitals must meet standards for prompt, appropriate heart attack treatment, including lifesaving procedures like percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) on a 24/7 basis. We are one of only two hospitals in Chicago to receive this accreditation.
- Rapid heart attack treatment: RUSH University Medical Center's median "door-to-balloon" time — the time between when a person having a heart attack enters the hospital and receives the recommended emergency treatment of an angioplasty — is 60 minutes. RUSH Copley Medical Center's median "door-to-balloon" time is 63 minutes. These times are significantly shorter than the standard U.S. goal of 90 minutes.
- Surgical care and recovery: When you need surgical treatment, our cardiac surgery team knows that care goes beyond the operating room. They’re with you at every step, reducing your time spent on a ventilator, making sure you go home with the medications you need and helping you recover. Those are a few reasons why the Society of Thoracic Surgeons gives RUSH a 3-star rating, their highest possible, for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
- Cardiac rehab, close to home: Through RUSH's cardiac rehabilitation services' therapeutic outpatient program, we will create a personalized course of treatments and services to help you get back on track after a heart attack or bypass surgery. Located at RUSH Oak Park Hospital and RUSH Copley Medical Center, the program provides education, counseling to address emotional barriers, exercise plans to build strength and endurance, and support needed to make any lifestyle changes to prevent future cardiovascular issues.
- Nationally recognized for chest pain care: RUSH Copley Medical Center is recognized for providing a high standard of care for heart attack patients by the American College of Cardiology and is one of only 140 hospitals nationwide to receive this honor. The Platinum Performance Achievement Award from the College’s NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry recognizes RUSH Copley’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients. It signifies that, in treating these patients, RUSH Copley has met levels of care as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.