Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries caused by atherosclerosis (sometimes known as “hardening” or “clogging” of the arteries). The arteries narrow because of a buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits (called plaques) on the inner walls of the blood vessel. The buildup restricts blood flow to the heart muscle. The heart team’s goal is to treat, reverse or prevent coronary artery disease and the risk of complications, such as a heart attack.
Health Quest and The Heart Center give you access to experienced interventional cardiologists and cardiac treatment teams and the most advanced procedures in the Mid-Hudson Valley and northwestern Connecticut.
Most often, coronary artery disease can be prevented by reducing risk factors (smoking, overweight, lack of physical exercise, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood cholesterol and more). You can work together with our cardiovascular doctors to diagnose and test your heart and vascular system and receive treatment and recommendations for the future.
If you think you — or someone you love — might be having signs of a heart attack, don’t delay. Call 911 immediately!
Why Choose Us?
- Our team of experienced and highly trained heart and vascular doctors, interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurses and staff work together to create the preeminent cardiovascular program in the Mid-Hudson Valley and northwestern Connecticut.
- Whether at the bedside, in the operating room or in the catheterization lab, you receive the benefit of innovative techniques and leading-edge heart health technologies you used to have to leave the area to find.
- Excellent outcomes and lifesaving care are close to you and close to home when you choose Health Quest and The Heart Center.
- Our cardiac specialists offer advanced tests to predict risk including a calcium score screening heart scan.
- Each of us values our heart — it’s essential to every activity in our body. That’s why it makes sense to trust your heart to our region’s trusted leader in cardiovascular care, one that is also nationally recognized for performance and quality.
- Vassar Brothers Medical Center is recognized by U.S. News & World Report (2017-2018) as one of the nation’s highest performing hospitals for heart failure and heart bypass.
Conditions We Treat
- Heart attack – Watch Video
If you think that you — or someone you love -— might be having a heart attack, don’t delay. Call 911 immediately.
- Total coronary occlusion
- Chronic total occlusion (CTO)
Treatment and Technology
- Balloon angioplasty – A non-surgical procedure where a small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to re-establish blood flow.
- Balloon angioplasty with stenting
- Cardiac Catheterization – Cardiac catheterization is also known as a coronary angiogram or “cardiac cath.” It is a minimally invasive imaging procedure that lets your cardiologist observe and evaluate your heart function. The procedure is performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Vassar Brothers Medical Center which is staffed by highly trained interventional cardiologists and a team of cardiovascular nurses and technicians. During a cardiac catheterization, a long narrow tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm or groin. The catheter is guided through the blood vessel into the chambers, valves and major vessels of the heart with the assistance of a special X-ray machine. You will be awake but mildly sedated during the procedure. The procedure is widely used to:
- Diagnose the presence and severity of coronary artery disease and valvular abnormalities.
- Study and evaluate your heart muscle function.
- Decide whether further treatment is needed.
- Cardiovascular surgery – Our cardiovascular surgical team consistently achieves the highest national standards of excellence.
- Medications and risk reduction – There are three major ways to treat your coronary artery disease. Severe artery blockages may call for cardiac surgery. Less severe blockages can be dealt with by angioplasty and stenting. Other types of coronary artery disease which produce chest pain (also known as angina) can be managed by thinning the blood with medications called anti-anginals, one of which is Warfarin.
- Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) – These procedures are performed by interventional cardiologists in situations where the coronary arteries are narrowing or when there is total occlusion (artery blockage) or chronic total occlusion (long-term arterial blockage). Even if a person is actively having a heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI), percutaneous coronary intervention can be used to intervene and stop the attack by opening up the narrow or blocked coronary artery. This allows blood to flow to the heart muscle.In this procedure, the narrowed artery or blockage is opened by first inserting a long plastic tube called a catheter which is tipped with a tiny deflated balloon into an artery in your arm or leg, and then inserting a stent — a small, metal, mesh tube that supports the inside of the coronary artery. The balloon catheter is used to insert the stent into the area of the artery that is narrowed or blocked. The balloon is inflated to expand the artery and hold it open and the stent is inserted. The stent stays in place and the balloon is deflated and removed. The stent is permanent and over the recovery period, the artery heals around the stent.