Coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects over 18 million adults in the United States, occurs when one or more coronary arteries narrow due to the buildup of plaque. This plaque is made up of a clump of cholesterol, fats, blood cells, and other materials.

“If doctors can’t identify and treat it in time, it can lead to a heart attack.”

Diffuse coronary artery disease is less common than standard CAD, but can be a more challenging form of heart disease. It’s characterized by multiple or especially long, continuous plaques within the arteries supplying blood to the heart.

Cardiac scans can be used to diagnose the disease. If the disease is diffuse, some standard treatments may not be possible.

Many people with diffuse CAD can live a long and active life with aggressive care and a heart-healthy lifestyle.

What makes CAD diffuse?

The term diffuse CAD can be used to describe something.

  • A significant portion of a coronary arteries is longer than 20 millimeters.
  • An arteries with several narrowed sections separated by healthy portions is called a “narrowed” arteries.

The causes of standard CAD are the same as diffuse. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are two health problems that can lead to plaque build up inside arteries.

Other risk factors for CAD include:

  • There is a disease called diabetes.
  • “It’s obese.”
  • sedentary lifestyle.
  • smoking

The more advanced stage of the software is called diffuse. It is possible to have diffuse CAD without being aware of it. A heart attack or a comprehensive heart examination may reveal the presence of multiple obstructions or plaques in one or more arteries.

One of the main imaging tests doctors use to confirm diffuse CAD is coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).

The screening uses contrast material and computed tomographic equipment to show how much the arteries have narrowed. The scans give a better look at the heart and its vessels.

Other standard cardiac images can help diagnose valve disease. These tests are for adults.

Doctors treat the disease in a number of ways.

The severity of the disease, age, and overall health will determine the best option. Someone who is frail may not be a good candidate for open heart surgery.

“Certain procedures may be unsafe because of the heart’s diffuse CAD. A severely narrowed coronary arteries may not be saved through surgery or a procedure called a stenting.”


Doctors can often treat mild cases of diffuse CAD with There are medications. used to treat standard CAD. These include:


A 2018 study suggests that new generation drug-eluting stents may be safe and effective treatment options for certain people with diffuse CAD.

Stents are small, flexible mesh tubes placed inside a coronary arteries to block a blocked arteries. The arteries are open in order to improve blood flow.

Drug-eluting stents are coated with a medication that’s slowly released to help prevent the artery from narrowing again (known as restenosis).


Likewise, a 2017 study suggests that certain people with diffuse CAD also may benefit from coronary artery A surgery to remove excess tissue.. It’s a procedure that takes a blood vessel from elsewhere in the body and attaches (or grafts) it to a coronary artery affected by CAD.

The surgeon attached the graft above and below the narrowed portion of the arteries. This allows blood to flow through the section that is blocked by plaque.

Stem cell therapy

A 2020 study suggests that some people with diffuse CAD may respond well to stem cell therapy. But this type of treatment is still in its early stages.

Stem cells are cells capable of becoming healthy cells that serve a specific purpose, such as replacing damaged tissue.

A small 2019 study found that people with diffuse CAD had better outcomes with surgery than with medication. The mortality rate for those who had surgery was less than 3 percent, but it was 14 percent for those who only took medication. The researchers did highlight the need for larger studies to confirm the results.

But the outlook for diffuse CAD is still less positive than for standard CAD. A 2015 article on surgical treatment of diffuse CAD suggests that even individuals undergoing lifesaving A surgery to remove excess tissue. can face higher mortality rates than those with less complex CAD.

While certain people with diffuse CAD can be treated effectively with stents or A surgery to remove excess tissue., others may not be able to have those treatments. The mortality rate for this group can be very high.

It is important to talk with your doctor about screening if you are at risk for the disease. The sooner you see plaque in your arteries, the better your chances of avoiding severe diffuse CAD.

The burden of diffuse coronary arteries is greater than other types of heart disease. It may be an easier condition for many people.

Finding a cardiologist and surgical hospital with experience managing diffuse CAD is key. It’s also important to do what you can to live a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and no smoking.