Coronary disease management: Then and now.


You may know that coronary artery disease is the number one killer of both men and women. What you might not know is that heart attacks are not the death sentence they once were.

Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become hardened and narrowed. Thus, less blood flows through the arteries and the heart can’t get the oxygen it needs.

Don’t mistake coronary artery disease as only a modern phenomenon, caused by today’s diets and a lack of exercise. The disease has been around – literally – since the caveman days. It is not a modern disease. What is “modern” is the way we treat and deal with this disease today.

Beginning in the 1960s, the field of interventional cardiology began to evolve with the advent of bypass surgery, balloons to open clogged arteries, and stents to keep arteries open. Today, the field has advanced to the point that most heart-related issues can be treated by minimally invasive catheters as opposed to open heart surgery. This results in faster recovery and fewer complications.

Robert Burke, MD, a non-invasive cardiologist with HonorHealth, says, "It used to be rare to meet someone who had survived a heart attack – and if you did, it was clear they were not the same as they once were. Now, people not only can survive a heart attack, they also can lead full lives afterwards."