What Are the Treatment Options for Coronary Artery Blockage?

Treatment options for coronary artery blockage include lifestyle changes, medications, angioplasty with stent placement and coronary artery bypass surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Treatment decisions are generally based on the severity of the blockages.

Some beneficial lifestyle changes for patients with coronary artery disease include quitting smoking, making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and decreasing stress levels, notes Mayo Clinic. Cardiac medications, such as beta blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, are commonly prescribed. In addition, aspirin, nitroglycerin and cholesterol-lowering medication are usually recommended.

When more aggressive treatment is necessary, angioplasty with stent placement may be performed, states Mayo Clinic. During this procedure, a tube called a catheter is inserted into the blocked artery, and a wire with a balloon is passed through the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the deposits that make up the blockage are pushed against the artery wall. A stent is sometimes placed inside the artery to prevent it from narrowing again.

Because it is an open-heart surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery is usually only done if multiple arteries are blocked, notes Mayo Clinic. During the surgery, grafts are created using vessels from another part of the body. The grafts are then used to reroute blood flow around the coronary artery blockages.