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Conditions & Services / Coronary Artery Disease

Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Dallas Fort Worth and the North Texas Region

Coronary Artery Disease

About Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and, unfortunately, a leading cause of death. Yet, most people can prevent the disease or get treatment that stops it from progressing. The skilled cardiologists at HeartPlace take a proactive approach to coronary artery disease, providing early screening and treatment to help you prevent advanced disease or a heart attack. To learn more about your risk and how to prevent coronary artery disease, call one of the 30 locations across North Texas or book an appointment online today. 

Coronary Artery Disease Q & A

What causes coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease begins when cholesterol attaches to the wall of one of the arteries carrying blood to your heart. 

Over time, more cholesterol, other fats, and calcium accumulate, forming plaque in the artery wall. This condition, called atherosclerosis, slowly enlarges and hardens, gradually narrowing the artery and restricting blood flow.

You can have a heart attack when the plaque completely blocks the artery. However, heart attacks most often occur when the plaque ruptures and causes a blood clot that immediately stops blood flow through the artery.

What symptoms occur if I have coronary artery disease?

Many have no symptoms until the plaque substantially blocks the artery. Once symptoms appear, you may experience any of the following:

  • Angina (chest pain during physical activity)
  • Chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of indigestion
  • Neck, shoulder, jaw, or upper back pain

For some, a heart attack is the first symptom of coronary artery disease.

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

Your HeartPlace provider evaluates your symptoms, completes a physical exam, and performs diagnostic testing such as:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Stress testing
  • Echocardiogram
  • Coronary calcium score
  • Coronary angiography
  • Cardiac catheterization


These tests provide essential information about muscle and electrical activity in your heart, blood flow through the arteries, and blood vessel blockages.

How is coronary artery disease treated?

Your provider develops a treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of the blockage. However, coronary artery disease treatment typically involves:

Lifestyle changes

Following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, losing weight, and stopping smoking prevent plaque from getting worse and help treat underlying conditions that cause coronary artery disease, including hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.


Your provider may prescribe medications to treat the underlying conditions, diminish chest pain, and control plaque build-up.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)

PCI is a nonsurgical procedure to open your blocked coronary arteries. During a PCI, your provider inserts a catheter through the skin in your groin or arm and guides it through your blood vessels to the clogged coronary artery.

The catheter contains one of several possible devices to open the artery. For example, your provider may perform angioplasty using a balloon to push the plaque back against the artery wall. Or they may do an atherectomy, which uses a tool that cuts away the hardened plaque.

After restoring circulation, your provider may implant a stent in the artery. The stent helps keep the artery open and prevents future plaque build-up.

If you need a risk assessment or treatment for coronary artery disease, call HeartPlace or book an appointment online today.