Dr. Atef Ben Yousef, a consultant in open heart and vascular surgery, performed a coronary artery bypass grafting procedure on a 71-year-old woman whose life was at risk due to her advanced age and severe stenosis of both her left and right coronary arteries.
The patient suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are among the main causes of coronary artery stenosis. This condition occurs when the main blood vessels that supply the heart muscle (the coronary arteries) have difficulty supplying sufficient blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart.
According to Dr. Ben Yousef, coronary artery disease often takes several decades to manifest. Symptoms may go unnoticed until a significant blockage occurs and leads to problems or a heart attack. Symptoms of coronary artery disease occur when the heart does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood. If you have coronary artery disease, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath. Complete blockage of blood flow can cause a heart attack.
Patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease, including chest pain (angina). The patient may feel pressure or heaviness in the chest, and some patients report feeling as though someone is standing on their chest. This pain usually occurs in the middle of the chest or on the left side. The pain usually subsides within minutes after the stimulus triggering the condition ceases. In some people, especially women, the pain may be brief or sharp in the neck, arm, or back.
The patient may also experience shortness of breath. The patient may feel as though they cannot catch their breath and may feel fatigued if the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
Dr. Ben Yousef also notes that blockage of the coronary arteries can lead to a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack include the usual feeling of pain or pressure in the chest, as well as pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, stomach, or arms. The patient may also experience shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or lightheadedness. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Dr. Ben Yousef emphasized the importance for patients to visit their doctor as soon as possible when experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms. He advised adopting healthy lifestyle habits to help maintain the strength and cleanliness of the arteries and prevent the build-up of plaque. To improve heart health, a low-salt and low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, regular exercise, and stress avoidance are recommended.
Dr. Abdulrazzaq Al-Jahani, head of the heart center that performed the diagnostic catheterization for the patient upon her admission to the hospital with chest pain, stated that the images showed severe narrowing in the left main coronary artery and other coronary arteries. This is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if left untreated and is one of the causes of sudden death that we hear about from time to time in individuals who may not have been diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.
Although stenting and balloon angioplasty are technically feasible in most cases of coronary artery stenosis, the recommendations of international cardiology organizations favor surgical treatment rather than stenting when the stenosis is in the main trunk, as in this case, as long-term outcomes are better in this situation. Therefore, it was agreed to perform the surgical procedure, and the case was explained in detail to the patient and her relatives by Dr. Al-Jahani, the catheterization consultant, Dr. Atef Ben Yousef, the surgical consultant, and Dr. Eman Dawood, the anesthesia consultant.
The procedure went smoothly, and the pre- and post-operative care was exemplary, resulting in the patient’s quick recovery. All respiratory support and other devices were removed in less than 24 hours, and the patient was able to leave the hospital in complete health after all the dangers associated with the serious stenosis in the main coronary artery were eliminated, as mentioned above.