Medical treatments for cardiac ischemia include use of medication, procedures to open the blocked arteries and cardiac bypass surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Cardiac ischemia is a blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart tissue and reduce the delivery of oxygen to the heart muscle.
As of 2015, doctors have a variety of medicinal options to treat cardiac ischemia, reports Mayo Clinic. Blood thinners such as aspirin reduce the chances of forming blood clots. Medications to relax blood vessels, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, increase blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure. Cholesterol-lowering drugs help to reduce the build-up of deposits on the artery walls.
Angioplasty and stenting open the cardiac arteries using less invasive techniques than bypass surgery. The doctor inserts a balloon through a catheter, inflates it, then places the stent, according to Mayo Clinic. The stent is a wire mesh coil that keeps the artery open. Some stents release medication to prevent the artery from closing.
With coronary artery bypass, surgeons graft an artery from another part of the body, allowing the blood to flow around the blocked vessel, explains Mayo Clinic. This procedure involves open-heart surgery. Heart surgeons usually reserve coronary artery bypass for patients with several blocked arteries.