The goal in treating coronary calcification is to slow (and possibly reverse) its progression and prevent serious consequences such as heart attack or stroke. Controlling risk factors can help limit coronary calcification and prevent life-threatening disease. Good preventive treatments are available.
Changes to your lifestyle can help prevent and slow the progression of coronary calcification. These can include dieting (especially to limit cholesterol, fat, and sodium), exercising, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and losing weight.
If you’re at risk of coronary calcification your doctor may prescribe cholesterol medications to reduce low density lipoproteins (LDL) known as the "bad" cholesterol (eg, statins) or to increase high density lipoproteins (HDL) known as the "good" cholesterol (eg, niacin). Newer medications such as PCSK 9 inhibitors (eg, Repatha, Praluent) are given by injection and can help lower cholesterol in more difficult instances. Other medications may be prescribed to reduce blood pressure (eg, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics), control blood sugar (eg, anti-diabetic medications), prevent clots (eg, aspirin), or dissolve a blood clot that has already formed (eg, warfarin, Eliquis, Xarelto, Pradaxa)
Procedures & Surgery
For severe atherosclerosis that has caused—or threatens to cause—symptoms or disease, further intervention may be necessary. This can include:
- Coronary stenting is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) which is guided into the blocked artery and a tiny balloon is inflated to pry open the plaque and restore blood flow. A stent (small mesh tube) is inserted to keep the artery wide open.
- Bypass surgery is a common approach that surgeons use to create new routes through which blood can flow around blocked or narrowed arteries. These “bypasses” are created using healthy vessels taken from the chest, arms or legs.