Bypass vs. angioplasty

Comparisons have produced mixed results, but the heyday for both procedures (especially bypass) may be winding down.

Yes, it's an oversimplification, but at one level, coronary artery disease is a plumbing problem. The coronary arteries supply the heart with blood. When they get gunked up with atherosclerotic plaque, not enough blood can get through. If the blockage isn't too bad, the result is angina, the pain caused by a heart working with an inadequate blood supply. If the blockage is bigger or the plaque ruptures, the result can be a heart attack, the death of heart tissue that was suddenly starved for blood and oxygen.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »