About your coronary arteries

Your coronary arteries supply your heart with the oxygen-rich blood it needs. But a fatty plaque material, atheroma, can build up in your artery walls. This can lead to atherosclerosis, the narrowing of your arteries. If they become so narrowed that the blood can’t get through, your heart can’t get the oxygen it needs. This can lead to angina, which you might feel as pain in your chest. If part of the plaque breaks off the artery wall of your artery, it can cause a blood clot to form, and this can completely block the blood supply to your heart, causing a heart attack.

There are many ways to manage and treat coronary artery problems, from taking medicine to having coronary artery bypass surgery. Our consultants can help you find the best option for your particular symptoms and circumstances.

Meet the team of consultants who specialise in coronary arteries

At our hospitals, you’ll see a consultant who subspecialises in exactly what you need. If your case is complex, they’ll discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan with as many as twenty other senior clinicians. It’s their combined skill and judgement that delivers the best outcomes for patients.

Working in teams, they’re pioneering new procedures to open up completely blocked arteries with just the smallest incision. They bring these latest techniques to our hospitals, offering our patients options they hadn’t had before.

Identifying and treating coronary artery problems

Managing your condition medically

Medicines can help limit symptoms, stop blood clots forming, and lower cholesterol to stop arteries narrowing even more.

Looking inside your coronary arteries

Your consultant might recommend you have an angiography, a test that uses contrast dye to highlight any narrowed areas of your arteries.

Angioplasty and stenting

An angioplasty involves threading a catheter into your narrowed artery, before inflating a balloon to widen it to its usual width. A mesh stent, attached to the balloon, acts as a scaffold to hold the artery open, restoring blood flow.

Coronary artery bypass surgery

Using very fine thread, our surgeons connect one part of the artery to another, bypassing the narrowed area. This allows blood to flow freely.
Consultant in surgery

Specialising in minimally invasive CTO procedures

Chronic total occlusion (CTO) of a coronary artery is traditionally treated with coronary artery bypass graft surgery. But some of our interventional cardiologists are specialising in treating CTO through a minimally invasive procedure. Working together, they use catheters, wires, balloons and stents to unblock completely blocked arteries — all through an incision the diameter of a pencil.

Minimal access and robotic surgery

Instead of opening the chest by cutting through the breast bone, minimal access and robotic surgery involves making a few small incisions. These methods achieve the same results as open-heart surgery, but give patients a faster recovery. Among our cardiac teams is the surgeon who uses the da Vinci robot to perform coronary artery bypasses. The robot’s four arms have a greater range of motion than human wrists, and the processors eliminate any natural hand tremor.
DaVinci robotic system
Multidisciplinary team meeting

Imaging arteries with fibre optics

With Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) technology, our interventional cardiologists pass fibre optic cables down the coronary arteries to look at built-up plaque. The optical fibre emits infrared light, and OCT measures the echo time delay and signal intensity after its reflection from the coronary wall. This gives cardiologists a detailed scan that can show how likely the plaque is to rupture and cause a heart attack.

Our cardiac hospitals

Our hospitals are internationally recognised. Our cardiac department brings together these different sites, our consultants, nurses, teams and technology. It’s all these elements combined that allow us to deliver outstanding care.

You'll feel like the only person in the hospital

When you’re having tests or treatment in one of our hospitals, you’ll have a dedicated clinical nurse specialist who’ll be with you every step of the way. Whether you need them to be your therapist, organiser, specialist or just your friend, they’ll give you the care and attention that makes you feel like the only person in the hospital.

Request a cardiac appointment

If heart symptoms are affecting your quality of life, we’re here to help. Our heart team is available to book an appointment with a cardiac specialist.

Call us today

020 7616 4988
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