For years, minimally-invasive stents have helped treat heart disease, but a new model at Western Baptist Hospital has been shown to reduce the need for repeat procedures, as well as resulting in fewer heart attacks and deaths.
The new model, Promus, is an advancement in treating coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease and leading causer of death in the U.S. for both men and women.
Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque buildup narrows or block the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. The blockage can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath or even a heart attack.
A stent, or tiny wire mesh tube, is inserted through a catheter into a clogged artery to open the vessel and restore blood flow. It is coated with a medication (everolimus, in the case of Promus) released over time to prevent additional blockages, thereby decreasing the need for follow-up procedures.
Question from a reader
A HeartBeat reader recently asked under what circumstances beta blockers and angiotensin II receptor blockers. (ARBs) are used to manage high blood pressure.
Both beta blockers and ARBs treat high blood pressure, but their use depends on people's specific needs.
Beta blockers work by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine, commonly known as adrenaline. As a result, the heart beats more slowly and with less force, thereby reducing blood pressure. Beta blockers also help blood vessels relax and open to improve blood flow.
Examples of beta blockers include Lopressor and Inderal. Doctors prescribe them to prevent or treat not only high blood pressure, but also irregular heart rhythm, heart failure and chest pain.
Angiotensin II is a natural substance in your body that affects your cardiovascular system in many ways, including narrowing blood vessels. This narrowing can increase blood pressure and force the heart to work harder. Angiotensin II also increases the body's retention of sodium and water, which can increase blood pressure, and thicken and stiffen the walls of the heart and blood vessels.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers, such as Avapro or Diovan, inhibit the action of angiosin II, allowing blood vessels to widen. Doctors prescribe them to prevent or treat not only high blood pressure, but also heart failure, kidney failure and scleroderma.
Physicians choose either beta blockers or ARBs to treat high blood pressure depending on many factors, including pre-exsisting medical conditions, other medications being taken and specific heart problems.
How do I learn more?
To learn more about the risk factors, symptoms and treatment for heart disease, visit westernbaptist.com/heart. You can take a free, five-minute online heart risk survey and become eligible for reduced-cost cardiac screenings at Baptist Prime Care. You also may phone Baptist Health Line at (270) 575-2918. Send your questions!