Coronary Artery Disease

If you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD), you are not alone. CAD is the most common type of heart disease. With expert diagnosis and treatment, you can lead a healthy, active life.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute among the top 20 programs in the nation for heart care. We perform more CAD procedures every year than any other hospital in the region. Our expertise, advanced technology and commitment to research means we can offer you the most effective, comprehensive care.

Coronary Artery Disease: Why Choose Vanderbilt

At Vanderbilt, we offer:

  • Patient-centered care: We take the time to get to know you. When discussing your diagnosis and treatment, we answer your questions and address any concerns. We want to make your healthcare experience as seamless and stress-free as possible. You can contact your team 24/7 through our secure online portal, My Health at Vanderbilt. We guarantee a quick response.
  • Recognized expertise: U.S. News & World Report ranks us among the top 20 programs in the nation for heart care. We are the only top-ranked program in Tennessee. This designation recognizes that we have some of the top heart specialists in the world providing your treatment.
  • Depth of experience: Our surgeons and interventional cardiologists perform more than 6,000 CAD procedures a year. These include routine interventional procedures in our cath lab (catheterization laboratory) as well as advanced surgery. Our high volume translates into expert, effective care for you.
  • Care for high-risk patients: We treat the highest risk patients from around the region, including those who may have been turned away from other heart centers. Patients with complex conditions find hope and treatment at our center.
  • Leading treatment options: Our research leads to cutting-edge treatments, giving you access to the latest treatment options, such as minimally invasive angioplasty. Each year, we help thousands of people with CAD get back to living the life they want.

What Is Coronary Artery Disease?

Your coronary arteries deliver blood to your heart. CAD happens when:

  • Fatty deposits build up inside your arteries.
  • The buildup, called atherosclerosis, causes your arteries to narrow.
  • The narrowing decreases or blocks the flow of blood to your heart.
  • If the blood supply is completely cut off, it will cause a heart attack.

It is important to see a cardiologist if you have any chest discomfort or a family history of CAD. Learn more about coronary artery disease.  

Coronary Artery Disease Tests and Diagnosis

At Vanderbilt, we diagnose you quickly and accurately, so you can begin treatment and feel better. Diagnostic procedures include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), to record your heart’s electrical activity
  • Stress test, which monitors your heart at rest and while you exercise
  • Cardiac catheterization, a minimally invasive procedure using a thin wire (catheter) that we pass into your arteries to examine blockages
  • Nuclear scanning, which uses a small amount of radioactive material to detect damaged areas of the heart

Coronary Artery Disease Treatments

Our cardiologists and surgeons meet to discuss the most complex cases and make diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Together, we create your personalized treatment plan, which may include:

  • Lifestyle modifications: Our team can help you make lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to reduce your risk factors.
  • Medications: We may prescribe medications to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Minimally invasive surgery: Coronary angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that increases blood flow in your coronary artery. Read more about angioplasty.
  • Traditional surgery: Bypass surgery creates an alternate path for blood to flow around the blockage. Our surgeons have extensive experience in treating even the most severe blockages. Learn more about coronary artery bypass surgery.

Coronary Artery Disease: Patient Story

Ken Dannemiller and his son, Scott, share a love of family and time spent together. They also share a condition that landed them in Vanderbilt operating rooms just weeks apart. This is a story of how one life-saving surgery led to another and why it’s important to know your family health history.

Contact Us

To make an appointment, or for more information, contact us at 615-322-2318.