Coronary Artery Disease Case Study

Coronary Artery Disease
Levi Gatherwright
Morehead State University Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease, CAD for short, is caused by a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygenated blood. The plaque (Atheroma) is a waxy like substance that consists of calcium, lipid compounds, and blood clotting compounds such as macrophages and fibrin. The buildup takes many years to accumulate; the plaque eventually swells the arterial wall restricting blood flow to the heart. This is called ischemia. Ischemia causes damage to the surrounding tissue due to the lack of blood flow, which results in slowed cellular metabolism. According to the Texas Heart Institute (2014), plaque is categorized into two types:
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(American Heart Association, 2014) While CAD can be asymptomatic, some typical symptoms include angina, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, difficulty swallowing, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, pain or discomfort in in the arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.(Cleveland Clinic, 2014) If a patient conveys symptoms, a stress echocardiography can be used to diagnose CAD, but the first tests given will usually be an electrocardiogram and a blood test. Other tests include Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catheterization, Positron Emission Tomography (PET scanning), Intravascular Ultrasound, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In addition, Multifunction Cardiogram is currently being tested as a non-invasive way to detect coronary ischemia, and for physicians to make a quick and accurate diagnosis. (Premier Heart, 2014) Electron Beam Tomography, however, may be used to produce a better image of the heart and correlate the severity of atherosclerosis in asymptomatic patients creating a calcium volume score. (The Mount Sinai Hospital, 2014) Complications that can result from CAD can cause heart failure, ventricular arrhythmia, which may lead to ventricular fibrillation, heart attack, and stroke. It is vital to seek attention from a health care professional when one believes he or she is having a heart attack or

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