Coronary Artery Disease

Synonyms: Ischaemic heart disease, IHD, CAD, atherosclerosis

Basic overview

Atherosclerosis may be asymptomatic for decades, but eventually the plaques may cause a significant narrowing of the heart arteries – restricting blood supply to the heart muscle – resulting in angina (usually with exercise / physical activity), or if this occurs suddenly (i.e. vessel occlusion) it will cause a ‘heart attack’

Risk factors for atherosclerosis include: being overweight, diabetes, smoking, lack of physical exercise and a poor diet


If the atherosclerotic plaque has not narrowed the arteries to a significant degree (usually at least 70%) then there may be no symptoms at all

Angina can present differently depending on the person, especially in diabetic patients. Classically, angina is described as a central chest pressure / tightness that may radiate to the arm or jaw. It is triggered by exercise and relieved with rest (except in the case of a sudden heart attack)


Lifestyle modifications:

  • Healthy eating (Mediterranean diet), especially in order to lose weight if your BMI is >25
  • Salt restriction (less than 4g daily)
  • Limitation of alcohol intake (no more than two standard drinks a day for men and one for women, with at least 2 alcohol-free days a week)
  • At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily
  • Avoidance of smoking


There are many classes of medications, but the most commonly prescribed medications include: 

  • Anti-platelet medications (such as aspirin)
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications (such as statins)
  • Anti-anginal medications (such as beta-blockers, nitrates, calcium channel blockers or nicorandil)


For patients with significant symptoms despite medications or with very severe vessel narrowing, an intervention may be required:

  • Stent
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
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Our Locations

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Cardiology Tasmania has 5 specialist centres located in Derwent Park, Huonville, Oatland, Swansea and Rokeby. As well as our fixed locations, our cardiology specialists and consultants travel to regional and remote areas to ensure all patients have access to cardiology services regardless of where they live.
Call Us:
0439 195 660
Derwent Park
  • Northcare Health Centre, 254 Main Road, Derwent Park, TAS

  • 62728869
  • Huon Valley Health Centre, 85 Main Road, Huonville, TAS
  • 62642800
  • Midlands Multipurpose Health, 13 Church Street, Oatlands, TAS
  • 61350540
  • Swansea General Practice: 37 Wellington Street, Swansea, TAS
  • 62578205
  • Knopwood Medical Centre: 46 South Arm Road, Rokeby, TAS
  • 62471019

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