Jefferson Health

Coronary Artery Disease

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Coronary artery disease occurs because over time fats, cholesterol and other substances build up in the walls of your arteries to form a type of plaque. Some of the plaque breaks off, forms a blood clot and blocks the flow of blood to your heart, which can lead to a heart attack.

Jefferson's medical staff is able to accurately detect and diagnose coronary artery disease through computed tomography (CT) angiography using the advanced Philips Brilliance iCT 256-slice scanner. Jefferson is the only hospital in the Philadelphia region — and one of only a handful in the nation — to offer this technology, which allows us to image arteries and the heart with never-before-seen clarity and details in order to make accurate diagnoses of coronary artery disease.

Alternatives to Surgery

If you have been told you need open heart surgery, physicians of the Jefferson Angioplasty Center may be able to offer a less invasive option or no surgery at all.

You can expect personalized, expert care, whether you have advanced coronary artery disease or are at an elevated risk of development. Most patients with severe coronary artery disease can be treated without coronary artery bypass surgery.

For opening blocked coronary arteries, our interventional cardiologists offer the Philadelphia region's widest variety of alternatives to surgery, including balloon angioplasty, coronary artery stenting, excimer laser angioplasty and rotational atherectomy often guided by intracardiac ultrasound and intracoronary pressure measurements.

Preventing Coronary Artery Disease

Prevention is an increasingly important aspect of our care, especially for patients with a family history of cardiac problems. In fact, a family history of premature coronary artery disease may be an even stronger risk factor for women than for men, especially in young women.

In addition to advanced blood testing and analysis to determine overall risk, patients receive gender-specific risk-factor counseling. Our clinical physicians will map out tailored programs to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which may include lifestyle changes, weight management, diet and exercise, smoking cessation and medication to maintain appropriate cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Why Choose Jefferson?

Some advanced capabilities that set Jefferson apart in the care of coronary artery disease include:

  • Our physicians have been using coronary stents for 25 years, which has helped prevent thousands of heart attacks and were leaders in the development of coronary artery stenting.
  • Jefferson has helped pioneer the use of next-generation drug-coated stents in angioplasty, and we were the first hospital in Philadelphia to treat patients with them.
  • Jefferson offers off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting, which is performed on the still-beating heart without the use of a heart-lung machine. This has the potential to reduce complications, the risk of stroke and temporary cognitive decline after surgery.
  • Our physicians were the first in the Delaware Valley to use low-dose radiation therapy (brachytherapy) to prevent restenosis of coronary arteries in patients who have previously undergone balloon angioplasty.