Is heart surgery or another invasive procedure right for me?

When Surgery Is NeededYou may need surgery or another invasive procedure if either of the following is true.

  • You have frequent or disabling chest pain, known as angina, even though you take medicine to control it.
  • You have severe blockages in your coronary artery.

Sometimes lifestyle changes and medicines aren't enough to treat CHD. If that's the case for you, your doctor may recommend an invasive procedure to open your arteries and improve blood flow to your heart. An invasive procedure is one where your doctor uses some type of surgical instrument within the body to diagnose or treat a condition.

Types of Invasive Procedures

There are two main invasive procedures the doctor might ask you to think about. One of those procedures, called coronary bypass, involves surgery. Another, called angioplasty, with or without a stent, does not involve surgery. But angioplasty is still considered an invasive procedure.

If your doctor wants you to have one of these procedures, you should understand what the risks and benefits are. Take the time to ask your doctor questions before you agree to any procedure or surgery.

Consider Getting a Second Opinion

You may want to get a second opinion. This will help you to make sure the suggested procedure is the best one for you. Check whether your insurance company will pay for a second opinion. Then ask your doctor to recommend someone you can talk to or someplace you can go to get a second opinion about the procedure.

Remember, though, even after a procedure or surgery on your heart, you will still need to make healthy choices every day. This means eating healthy foods and not smoking. Also, you will still need to take the medicines that your doctor prescribes.

To learn more about the kinds of procedures and surgeries your doctor might suggest, see what do I need to know about heart surgery and other invasive procedures?

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