Coronary Artery Disease

An illustration of a heart procedure.Coronary artery disease (CAD), a narrowing of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart, is a leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Patients with CAD may experience a variety of symptoms when the demand for blood to the heart is more than the heart’s ability to supply blood due to blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Often referred to as angina, symptoms may include feelings of chest discomfort, a squeezing or pinching feeling in the chest, fatigue, sluggishness, and shortness of breath. Though angina symptoms usually go away with rest, it’s important not to ignore these symptoms and talk to a doctor quickly. If you are experiencing pain in the chest, arm, jaw or below the breastbone in combination with sweating, nausea, or extreme shortness of breath, you may be having a heart attack. Please call 911 immediately.

With CAD, blockages in the blood vessels are usually caused by the buildup of fat and cholesterol inside the vessel. Treatment options for CAD vary, but may include medications, lifestyle changes, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and open heart surgery.

PCI, also referred to as angioplasty, is a non-surgical procedure used to open blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart and restore blood flow to the heart muscle. A PCI procedure is designed to open blocked vessels using a small flexible tube called a catheter.  With the catheter, an interventional cardiologist typically uses a balloon or intracoronary stent to open up the blocked vessel.  Many of our BayCare Hospitals perform PCI procedures:

When blockage by plaque occurs in arteries for an extended period of time (90 days or more), it may be considered chronic coronary total occlusion (CTO). Though treatment for this condition was historically limited, BayCare can now treat it using minimally invasive PCI. BayCare’s three cardiovascular flagship facilities have experts trained in treating CTO:

  • Morton Plant Hospital
  • St. Joseph's Hospital 
  • Winter Haven Hospital

Determine Your Risk for Heart Disease Today

A primary care physician or cardiologist can help determine your risk for coronary artery disease or CTO. To request a physician referral to a primary care physician or heart specialist, please call (855) 233-0888 or complete a physician referral form.

Request a Heart Specialist Referral