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BJC and Saint Luke’s Officially Combine as BJC Health System

Coronary heart disease treatment: Why choose us?

BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. People from all over the Midwest come to us because we can treat even the most complex coronary artery disease (CAD) cases. Our cardiologists, heart surgeons and other heart specialists work together to ensure you receive seamless, coordinated care, with a personalized approach.

When you choose our care team you’ll find:

  • Treatment for complex conditions: We’re qualified to treat CAD even when it’s complicated by age, obesity, heart failure or other conditions. We also can treat challenging forms of CAD, such as coronary artery chronic total occlusion. So if you’ve been told you’re out of treatment options, we can help.
  • Focus on heart disease prevention: We put a strong emphasis on preventive cardiology to reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Our experts provide guidance, screenings and the attentive care you need for better heart health.
  • Convenient, accessible care: With cardiologists throughout the region, it’s easy to find heart care close to home.
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What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops when the heart arteries can no longer deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. It’s the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Your heart pumps blood to provide your body with oxygen and other nutrients. The heart also needs blood and oxygen, supplied through coronary (heart) arteries, to keep your heart muscle working properly.

When cholesterol and other fatty substances build up inside coronary arteries, your arteries become narrow and stiff. The buildup (plaque) can happen in any artery, and the condition is called atherosclerosis. CAD is atherosclerosis in one or more coronary arteries.

CAD can lead to other heart conditions, including heart failure, arrhythmia and heart attack.

Treatments for coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, preventing CAD from worsening and reducing heart attack risk and other complications. As your care team develops your treatment plan, we work closely with you to understand your needs and preferences.  

We consider your symptoms, risk factors and other conditions affecting your health when recommending treatment options. Depending on your specific situation, you may need one or more treatments, including: 

  • Heart-healthy lifestyle changes
    A healthy diet, exercise, not smoking and keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure under control can reduce CAD symptoms.
  • Medications for coronary artery disease
    We may recommend medication to control your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent blood clots.
Coronary artery disease procedures

We may recommend a procedure to improve blood flow to your heart if CAD symptoms don’t improve with non-surgical treatments. Our heart surgeons and interventional cardiologists have expertise in several advanced procedures for coronary artery disease.

In many cases, we can open a blocked artery using a minimally invasive approach called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Another name for PCI is coronary angioplasty and stenting. These procedures allow for a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complications.

We partner with interventional specialists to develop most advanced angioplasty and stent implantation techniques used globally. Washington University physicians at Barnes-Jewish Hospital have developed new strategies for the most complex cases, including people who have had previous bypass surgery or who cannot undergo surgery.

Multiple blockages or those in hard-to-reach areas may need more advanced treatment, such as coronary artery bypass surgery.

Our expertise in coronary artery surgery includes:

  • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
    We insert a catheter into a blood vessel and guide it to the blockage. We inflate a small balloon inside the vessel to restore blood flow.
  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery
    We reroute blood vessels to restore blood flow to your heart, bypassing the blocked vessel. CABG is an open-heart surgery.
  • Off-pump CABG surgery
    We use special equipment to stabilize you during surgery, so we don't need to stop your heart or put you on a heart-lung machine.
  • Transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMLR)
    We create tiny channels in your heart muscle to improve blood flow. TMLR doesn't require the use of a heart-lung machine.
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