Coronary artery disease (CAD) affects more than 18 million adults in the United State; it’s the most common type of deadly heart disease. At Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, Ranjit Rajpal, MD, FACP, FACC, takes a proactive and comprehensive approach to CAD. Dr. Ranjit screens for CAD, helps you prevent the disease, and provides exceptional medical and surgical treatment for existing coronary artery blockages. If you have questions about coronary artery disease or need cardiac care, call the office in Madera, California, or connect online to request an appointment.

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What causes coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease or CAD affects the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart. This heart disease develops when cholesterol, other fats, and calcium build up and form plaque in the artery wall – a condition called atherosclerosis.

Without treatment, the fatty plaque gradually enlarges, hardens, and blocks the flow of blood. As the artery narrows and your heart loses its blood supply, the heart muscles can’t work properly. CAD causes a heart attack if the plaque completely blocks the artery or ruptures and causes a blood clot.

What symptoms develop due to coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease develops slowly over many years. As a result, most people don’t have noticeable symptoms until the plaque causes a substantial blockage.

If symptoms appear, you may experience:

  • Chest pain during physical activity
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If you don’t seek preventive cardiac care, a serious event like a heart attack is often the first sign of coronary artery disease.

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

At Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, Dr. Rajpal completes a thorough review of your medical history and symptoms, completes a physical exam, and then runs one or more diagnostic tests. In addition to blood tests, you may need:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress test
  • Holter or event monitor
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Nuclear testing
  • Coronary angiography
  • Mobile cardiac telemetry

These tests show Dr. Rajpal how well your heart muscles are working, the heart’s electrical activity, blood flow through the arteries, and any blood vessel blockages.

How is coronary artery disease treated?

Your treatment is based on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of the arterial blockage. However, treatment for coronary artery disease involves:

Lifestyle changes

Following a heart-healthy diet, engaging in a safe exercise regimen, losing weight, and stopping smoking are essential lifestyle steps for preventing and treating CAD.


Dr. Rajpal may prescribe medications to manage the underlying causes of CAD, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. You may also need medication to reduce chest pain and control plaque build-up.

Percutaneous coronary intervention

When atherosclerosis causes a significant blockage, Dr. Rajpal performs percutaneous coronary intervention. During this procedure, he inserts a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin or wrist. Using real-time imaging, he guides the catheter to the blocked artery in your heart. Then he deploys a balloon that pushes the plaque against the artery wall and implants a stent to hold the artery open.

If you need cardiac prevention or treatment for coronary artery disease, call Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, or schedule an appointment online today.