COVID-19 updates, including vaccine information, for our patients and visitors Learn More


Coronary Artery Disease

New and Current Patients

About appointments and referrals

 Cardiovascular Care Locations

U.S. News & World Report - UC San Diego Health Ranked Nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery

We provide the most advanced care for patients with coronary artery disease, from diagnosis to treatment. Our team of cardiologists and surgeons work together with a multidisciplinary team to give comprehensive care tailored to each patient's needs.

Meet our cardiologists

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease, occurs when the inner walls of the coronary arteries have a buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits called plaques. These deposits may start in childhood and continue to thicken and enlarge throughout the life span. This thickening is called atherosclerosis and it can cut or block blood flow to the heart.

Read more about Coronary Artery Disease and Understanding Coronary Artery Disease in our health library.

How is Coronary Heart Disease Diagnosed?

Your health care provider will ask about your health history and do a physical exam. You may also need these tests:

How is Coronary Heart Disease Treated?

Lifestyle changes

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and slow or stop coronary heart disease. This may include:

  • Quitting smoking, if you smoke
  • Exercising
  • Losing weight
  • Eating healthier foods such as lean meats, and fruits and vegetables


Many medicines can treat coronary heart disease. These include antiplatelets, such as aspirin, which lower the risk for blood clotting. You may also take medicines that lower your blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and treat diabetes.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
This procedure uses catheters, balloons and other tools to open the blocked blood vessel and improve blood flow to the heart. These include:

  • Balloon angioplasty. A small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to open the blocked part.
  • Coronary artery stent. A tiny mesh coil is expanded inside the blocked artery to open the blocked part. It is left in place to keep the artery open. This is done with balloon angioplasty.
  • Atherectomy. The blocked part inside the artery is cut away by a tiny device on the end of a catheter.
  • Laser angioplasty. A laser is used to "vaporize" the blockage in the artery.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

This surgery uses arteries or veins from the body to reroute blood around a blockage in the coronary arteries. More about CABG

Related Links