Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease

The University of Chicago Medicine is home to expert heart specialists that excel in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease.

At UChicago Medicine, our cardiologists and heart surgeons have unparalleled experience treating patients with complex diseases or those with co-existing medical problems, such as diabetes. We also consistently take on the most challenging cases – even those considered untreatable.

Our expert cardiac surgeons are highly skilled in minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery and perform various procedures through small incisions rather than cracking open the chest. Benefits of these approaches include a faster recovery, less risk for complications and less pain compared to traditional open-chest bypass surgery.

Symptoms and Risks of Coronary Artery Disease

As the leading cause of death in Americans, coronary artery disease is a serious condition, and when it is allowed to progress, it can be fatal. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know if you are in danger because while coronary artery disease is caused by a build up of plaque on coronary arteries, it is often not apparent that you have heart disease. As the plaque continues to accumulate, the arteries will narrow, eventually slowing or even blocking blood flow throughout the body. To prevent serious complications, it is critical to know the common risks for coronary artery disease in order to identify an issue and seek treatment before the disease becomes unmanageable.

Coronary artery disease is thought to begin with damage or injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery. The damage may be caused by various factors, including:

  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low mobility
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

If you are at risk because of one or more of the above conditions, do not ignore complications that can cause or exacerbate coronary artery disease. If you have or experience any of the following conditions, reach out to your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Heart attack (pain in the arm, jaw, lightheartedness)
  • Shortness of breath