Harvard Heart Letter

Bypass or angioplasty with stenting: How do you choose?

Up to a third of people with coronary artery disease have blockages in all three of the arteries that feed the heart muscle. For them, bypass surgery usually is the best treatment option. For those with a blockage only in the LAD, the coronary artery that feeds the entire front of the heart, bypass is also the best treatment. But when the LAD isn’t involved, blockage in one or even two of the other coronary arteries usually is treated with balloon angioplasty to widen the artery and placement of a mesh tube called a stent to hold it open.
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