Angioplasty is a procedure performed by inserting a catheter with a deflated balloon into an affected artery, then inflated to open the artery. Sometimes a stent, or mesh tube, is left to keep it open. The procedure does come with some risk, in fact, having the potential of inducing a heart attack.
If a patient is uncomfortable with an angioplasty, there are now other alternatives that may be just as effective without the procedure.
Medical researchers, for example, have been evaluating the combined approach using anti-coagulants, thrombolytic therapy (clot-dissolving drugs) and cholesterol-lowering drugs. According to Dr. Eric J. Topol of the Cleveland Clinic, the treatment has been deemed effective in at least a few small studies (1).
Other cardiologists look to intensive-lipid therapy alongside dietary supplements such as fish oil and vitamin D. According to Dr. William Davis, the integrated therapy has been shown to help slow progression of atherosclerosis and even reverse it in asymptomatic adults (2).
Along with treatment, the patient should adopt exercise and special dietary considerations to help provide a complete comprehensive treatment of risk factors including control of hypertension, obesity and type 2 diabetes (3). For this patient, diet should be low in saturated and trans fat, high in fiber, and provide optimal levels of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D for lowering cardiovascular risk (3).
A DASH eating plan can help to meet diet goals. The eating plan, which has been found to lower blood pressure within 15 days, features low-fat dairy products, fish, and lean meats as well as plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Recently, a study found that a DASH eating plan combined with exercise helped subjects to reduce blood pressure, lose weight, improve mental function, and improve cardiovascular fitness (4).
1. Topol EJ. Integration of anticoagulation, thrombolysis and coronary angioplasty for unstable angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol. 1991 Sep 3;68(7):136B-141B.
2. Davis W, Rockway S, Kwasny M. Effect of a combined therapeutic approach of intensive lipid management, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and increased serum 25 (OH) vitamin D on coronary calcium scores in asymptomatic adults. Am J Ther. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):326-32. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19092644
3. Kohlstadt I. Food and Nutrients in Disease Management. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2009.
4. Smith PJ, Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Craighead L, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Browndyke JN, Strauman TA, Sherwood A. Effects of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet, Exercise, and Caloric Restriction on Neurocognition in Overweight Adults With High Blood Pressure. Hypertension. 2010 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]