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Difference Between Angioplasty and CABG

Posted On Sep 30, 2022

Dr. Jyoti Kusnur

Consultant - Interventional Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals-Goa

Cardiology hospital in Goa

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) vs angioplasty is considered to be the second choice for patients who are suffering from cardiac blockages. In order to resolve the issues related to the choice of undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and angioplasty, choosing the right line of treatment and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each of these treatments. The cardiologists are aiming to make the patients aware of their appropriate understanding of the difference between these treatments. The final outcome of the coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) vs angioplasty depends entirely on the current medical condition of the patient, the number of blocked arteries, the overall health of the patient involving other diseases, and the patient’s preference.

What is coronary artery disease? 

The hardening of the coronary arteries on the surface of the heart is known to be the major cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). The inner walls of coronary arteries are usually smooth and flexible, allowing proper flow of blood toward the heart. CAD occurs due to blockage in the coronary arteries, which in turn occurs in the case of damage to the inner wall of the artery.

Treatment of coronary artery disease

Patients with CAD are advised to take medications and make lifestyle changes to slow disease progression. In severe cases, when medical management and lifestyle changes are not capable of controlling the CAD, the doctors recommend either angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). To know more about the treatment option, book an appointment at our cardiology hospital in Goa.

What is Angioplasty?

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to widen the coronary artery. This process expands the coronary arteries rather than removing plaque from them, improving blood flow to the heart. More than 92% of the patients in India have been estimated to have immediate relief from the symptoms of CAD, while some of them have been reported to get relief immediately after the procedure.

The process of angioplasty involves the use of a catheter that is inserted into the narrowed region of the artery. A wire is connected to the catheter with a deflated balloon, which is inflated at the point where the artery is constricted, resulting in the widening of arteries.

Coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG)

CABG is the type of surgery performed to improve the blood flow to the heart. In this procedure, a healthy artery or vein is transplanted into the blocked coronary artery. This blocked section is bypassed by the grafted artery or vein. It results in the opening of a new passage which allows oxygen-rich blood to bypass the obstruction and reach the heart muscles.  

Angioplasty vs. CABG

Angioplasty should be taken into consideration in the case of one, two, or even three arteries that are narrowed. When the left major coronary artery or any of the three major coronary arteries is narrowing, CABG is considered. If two or three coronary arteries are constricted and if the patient is suffering from diabetes or heart failure, CABG is preferred in this case. If medical therapy fails to relieve angina (chest pain), either angioplasty or CABG is recommended.

During angioplasty, the doctors do not need to perform any major surgery and only a small incision in the leg, arm, or wrist, is performed. The recovery rate of the patients is quick as it is less intrusive and takes only an hour to complete. Angioplasty does not require any anesthesia for which the patient may return to their daily activities within a few days.

In contrast, CABG is an important method of treatment that takes approximately 3-6 hours to complete. Surgeons make a small slit in the chest region that is 8–10 inches wide. The procedure is considered to be pain-free as they are given general anesthesia. This process requires the patient to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days, which is the recovery time for the patient, and it may last up to 12 weeks. Consulting with our interventional cardiologist in Goa is going to be fruitful for you as you will be able to make the right choice between CABG and Angioplasty.

Angioplasties are less permanent when compared with CABG as it does not analyze the source of the blockage, although none of these treatments offer remedies that may last forever.

One of the studies revealed that almost 15-20% of the patients undergoing angioplasty have experienced artery narrowing over the next several years and require CABG. In all such conditions, patients must change their diet and engage themselves in some regular exercises for reducing extra fat and cholesterol. 

Dr. Jyoti Kusnur

Consultant - Interventional Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals, Goa

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