Coronary Ischemia Definition, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

 Coronary Ischemia Definition, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention


One of the consequences of high cholesterol, and high LDL in particular, is coronary ischemia. Linked to heart disease, it is a contributing factor to many heart attacks. Also known as cardiac ischemia, the medical coronary ischemia definition is a condition in which not enough blood flows through the coronary arteries.

Coronary Ischemia Definition, Symptoms

Causes of coronary ischemia

Fatty plaque buildup on the interior wall of the arteries restricts blood flow through the coronary arteries. This causes the pathway through the artery to narrow, leaving less space for blood. As a result of the lack of blood flow, the heart tissue becomes deprived of oxygen, or ischemic; this often leads to a heart attack. Many factors play into the formation of the arterial plaques that cause ischemia. They form over time and tend to form more quickly in people who are overweight, consume diets high in saturated fat, are inactive, smoke or have a family history of heart disease.

Symptoms of coronary ischemia

Ischemia patients often report to their doctors that they think they have had a heart attack. Chest pain while exercising, sweaty palms, clammy skin and nausea are the hallmark symptoms of this condition. Women often experience stomach pain and extreme fatigue when they suffer from ischemia. Heartburn and anxiety occur in some patients as well.


During an angiography to treat coronary ischemia, the doctor inserts a scope with a camera into the femoral or radial artery and pushes it up toward the heart. When it reaches the heart, the doctor injects a dye into the artery. When the patient is placed under a special X-ray machine, the doctor sees the plaque in the arteries because of the dye.

Diagnosis of coronary ischemia

Before doctors treat coronary ischemia, they first must diagnose the condition. They do so with three tests an electrocardiogram, an exercise stress test and an angiography. The electrocardiogram is painless and gives the doctor a visual image of the heart. You take a stress test on a treadmill or bike, and it measures the exercise tolerance of the heart. A doctor only performs angiography if the electrocardiogram and stress test strongly suggest ischemia. An angiography determines which coronary arteries are blocked.

Treatment of coronary ischemia

There is no cure for this condition; the goal is to manage it so that you avoid heart attacks. In mild cases, quitting smoking, adopting a healthy, low-fat diet and increasing physical activity ease the symptoms and prevent additional plaque buildup in the artery walls. In moderate to severe ischemia, bypass surgery, in which a surgeon builds a new artery around the blocked artery, is necessary to restore adequate blood flow to the heart. Another surgery, an angioplasty, involves inserting a balloon-like instrument into the artery; this expands, pushing the plaque outward and widening the pathway through which blood flows.

Prevention of coronary ischemia

It is far easier to prevent ischemia than it is to treat it. The goal is to prevent the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. Keeping cholesterol levels low by following a diet low in saturated fat and rich in dietary fiber, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking slows the development of this condition. Doctors often prescibe statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Crestor, when lifestyle modification does not keep cholesterol levels in check.

Coronary Ischemia Definition, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Now that you know the coronary ischemia definition, be vigilant about watching for the symptoms. If you experience chest pain of any sort, report to the emergency room promptly. Whether it is ischemia or a heart attack, prompt treatment is likely to save your life.

Describe percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty treatment for ischemia

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty is a nonsurgical procedure in which a catheter tipped with a balloon is threaded from a blood vessel in the thigh into the blocked artery to open the artery.

What is the Definition of coronary circulation?

the blood supply to heart muscles is provided by coronary arteries,which emerge fromthe base of aorta. The heart muscles are drained by coronary veins which empty themselves into right atrium. the coronary arteries and veins are collectively called coronary circulation and it is a part of systematic circulation.

What is Ischemia?

The term ischemia comes from the Greek roots isch- and -heme and literally means restriction of blood. It occurs when too little blood reaches a particular organ or tissue, which occurs when tissues are poorly perfused with blood. Ischemia is generally considered in terms of poor perfusion and is therefore distinguished from the concept of hypoxemia, which refers to low oxygen content in the blood. The end result is generally the same, but ischemia and hypoxemia are distinct concepts.

Ischemia is it curable?

Ischemia is a temporary condition in which a tissue does not receive enough oxygen and other metabolic substrates for a short time. Ischemia can either improve and go away, or worsen and become cell injury and death. In the case of cardiac ischemia, it is most frequently seen in the setting of angina, in which there is a plaque partially or mostly occluding a coronary artery and the tissue depending on that artery become ischemic when the person exercises and not enough blood can get by the plaque to supply adequate oxygen and substrate to that tissue. The person gets chest pain and stops doing whatever it was heshe was doing, allowing the heart to slow and blood flow to match need again, relieving the ischemia. If that plaque ruptures, and forms a clot, resting does not relieve the ischemia, and cell injury and death may result, a myocardial infarction.

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