How is ischemic heart disease treated?

Treatment for ischemic heart disease begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have ischemic heart disease, your health care provider will ask you to undergo several diagnostic tests.

Medications used to treat ischemic heart disease

Drug therapy is commonly used for treatment of ischemic heart disease and includes:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), which lower blood pressure
  • Anti-ischemic agents such as ranolazine (Ranexa)
  • Antiplatelet drugs, which prevent the formation of blood clots
  • Beta-blockers, which lower the heart rate
  • Calcium channel blockers, which reduce workload on the heart muscle
  • Nitrates, which dilate the blood vessels
  • Statins, which lower cholesterol

Many different medicines are available to treat ischemic heart disease. Your health care provider will work with you to select the appropriate medications, depending on your individual condition. It is important to follow your treatment plan for ischemic heart disease precisely and to take all of the medications as instructed.

Surgical procedures used to treat ischemic heart disease

Severe symptoms that are not relieved by medication alone are treated with surgical procedures including:

  • Angioplasty and stent placement (procedure to remove plaque and restore blood flow in clogged arteries)
  • Coronary artery bypass graft (procedure that helps restore blood flow to the heart by routing the flow through transplanted arteries)

What you can do to improve your ischemic heart disease

In addition to following your treatment plan, you may be able to improve your ischemic heart disease by:

  • Carefully managing your diabetes, if applicable
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level
  • Maintaining normal blood pressure
  • Quitting tobacco use
  • Reducing cholesterol and fat in your diet

What are the potential complications of ischemic heart disease?

You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of ischemic heart disease include:

  • Arrythmia (irregular heart rhythm)
  • Chronic angina
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart damage
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)


  1. Heart attack. American Heart Association.
  2. Explore Angina. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Diseases and Conditions Index.
  3. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
  4. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

What is ischemic heart disease?

Ischemic heart disease is a condition of recurring chest pain or discomfort that occurs when a part of the heart does not receive enough blood. This condition occurs most often during exertion or excitement, when the heart requires greater blood flow. Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary heart disease, is common in the United States and is a leading cause of death worldwide.
<... Read more about ischemic heart diseaseintroduction


What are the symptoms of ischemic heart disease?

Ischemic heart disease reduces the flow of blood to the coronary arteries, which carry oxygen to the heart. This reduction in blood flow may result in a number of symptoms, which can vary in intensity among individuals.

Common symptoms of ischemic heart disease

You may experience ischemic heart disease symptoms daily or just occasionally. Common symptoms include chest p... Read more about ischemic heart diseasesymptoms


What causes ischemic heart disease?

Ischemic heart disease is caused by a decrease in blood flow through one or more of the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your heart (coronary arteries). When blood flow is reduced, the heart muscle does not receive the amount of oxygen it needs to function properly.

Ischemic heart disease may develop slowly, as plaque builds up over time, or it may occur quickly if an artery is ... Read more about ischemic heart diseasecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

Your Guide to Heart Disease

This Article is Filed Under: Heart Disease, Heart, Blood and Circulation

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