Overview of the Coronary Artery Disease Program

Coronary artery disease (CAD), is also known as coronary atherosclerosis, or coronary heart disease. Coronary artery disease is characterized by the narrowing or complete blockage of the coronary artery—the blood vessel leading to the heart—increasing the risk of heart attack. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Coronary Artery Disease Program unites general cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons to provide optimal, individualized care for patients with coronary artery disease. The full spectrum of current diagnosis and treatment options is available, using an integrated approach that puts Patients First. 

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is one of the leading centers worldwide in robotically-assisted and hybrid surgery interventions, and leads Cleveland Clinic in the United States’ facilities for robotically-assisted heart surgery.

What We Treat 

The coronary arteries nurture the heart so that it can pump enough blood to the body. High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and smoking can cause narrowing and complete blockage of these arteries by a build-up of plaque that contains lipids, fibrous tissue, and calcium.

This condition is called coronary artery disease. The restricted blood flow leads to a lack of oxygen supply to the heart muscle, and results in cell damage and corresponding chest pain. If the artery is completely blocked, the heart muscle dies and a heart attack occurs. This is a life-threatening situation. 

If a patient is experiencing severe chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, the patient should immediately be brought to the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Emergency Department or the nearest hospital emergency facility.

The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Coronary Artery Disease Program offers treatment through medication, catheter interventions, and surgery.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease 

Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease​

Patients usually come to the outpatient clinic with symptoms of chest pain.​​

The physician assesses the patient’s risk factors, such as high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, and tobacco use. After a physical examination, additional diagnostic tests are often requested. These tests may include: 

  • Pressure wire measurement: Used to accurately grade coronary blockages.
  • Ultrasounds: High-frequency sound waves used to view images of the heart and grade coronary blockages.
  • Exercise stress tests: A test that monitors heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and electrical activity of the heart during exercise. 
  • Nuclear imaging (or myocardial perfusion scan): A test that uses radioactive tracers injected into the veins to show the blood flow patterns in the heart and coronary artery.​
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A scan that uses radio waves and magnets to provide images of the heart. 

The final diagnosis of coronary artery disease is established by cardiac catheterization, also known as cardiac cath or coronary angiogram. To observe blood flow and blood pressure, catheters are inserted into the heart through the wrist or the groin. 

Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease 

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment options are discussed with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, including internal medicine physicians, cardiologists, and surgeons. In many cases, resorbable stents can be implanted into blockages immediately. This procedure is carried out using local anesthetic and patients can usually leave the hospital after one day. 

If the disease is complex, or if very important heart vessels are involved, physicians may recommend coronary artery bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or heart bypass surgery.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Coronary artery bypass surgery restores normal blood flow to the heart. The blood flow is redirected around the blocked artery in order to reach the heart. The surgery involves taking a vein from the chest or leg and using it to redirect blood from the aorta – the body’s main artery—to the coronary artery. 

The traditional way to perform coronary artery bypass surgery is through a midline chest incision. If a patient fulfills certain criteria, noninvasive surgery options, which allow for a quicker recovery, are also offered at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Robotically-Assisted Surgery and Hybrid Surgery Procedures

Using robotic technology, coronary artery bypass surgery can be performed using minimally invasive incisions of 8mm to 10mm, without opening the chest. This procedure is called Totally Endoscopic Coronary Artery Bypass, or TECAB. Hybrid procedures combine catheter interventions and robotic surgery to reduce the invasiveness of the operations.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is among the world’s leading hospitals for several minimally invasive procedures, including methods of TECAB and hybrid coronary interventions. 

Coronary Artery Disease Program Caregivers 

Coronary artery disease care involves a multidisciplinary team working in an integrated, Patients First approach. The Coronary Artery Disease Program works closely with other parts of the hospital, including the catheter laboratory, the operating room, the Intensive Care Unit, and more. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Intensive care specialists
  • Perfusionists (heart-lung machine specialists)​
  • Specialized nurses
  • Outpatient clinic technicians 
  • Physiotherapists​



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