Alternatives in coronary artery disease treatment

Because of the invasive nature of cardiac surgery, medical therapy will always be the preferred treatment protocol favored by many clinicians. To that end, researchers and pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to explore methods of treating atherosclerosis that will render surgery unnecessary.

For instance, researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria announced in February 2009 (Journal of Lipid Research, 50:312–326) progress related to their study of a synthetic atherosclerosis drug that can reduce the build-up of plaque without producing the side effect of fatty liver disease, which can lead to other disorders such as diabetes.

However, in some instances, more aggressive therapy is required and for those patients, there is a host of therapy choices available—all of which can prove to be competitive with stenting technology.

As we previously posted (and updated to include Cell Therapy, for its recent successes), a useful way to understand the alternatives is to view them in a treatment map:


Coronary Artery Disease Treatment


(The color coding indicates black/bold for current dominant options, green for options with significant near-term potential and red for options with significant potential but longer term.)

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; drawn from Report #C245

[Note:  Additional variants exist in the alternative interventional, surgical and other approaches to treatment of coronary artery disease shown above (we recently added "Cutting Balloon Angioplasty" to the map). The map above cannot easily illustrate the full range of options, but simply highlights that as long as no "perfect" solution exists, as long as multiple clinician types are involved (e.g., interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons) and as long as patients of a wide range of different presentations exist, there will be support and incentive for multiple, evolving therapeutic options.]

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