Understanding Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

What You Need to Know

Being diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD) can come as quite a shock. We hope the following topics help you understand more about what it is and why people with CAD have an increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke, so you can help manage your condition and help reduce your risk for life-threatening cardiovascular events.

What is CAD?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a progressive condition that is the result of plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It is the most common type of heart disease in the United States.

CAD & the Risk for Life-threatening Blood Clots

People with CAD have a high risk for blood clots due to a rupture of plaque in the arteries.

Diagram of normal artery, plaque buildup, and plaque rupture and blood clot

When plaque ruptures and forms a blood clot, it can cut off blood flow to your heart or brain and cause serious, life-threatening events:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular death

Treatments for CAD

Some common treatments for CAD include certain procedures to restore blood flow to your heart:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
  • Stent implantation

However, even with a stent procedure, you’re still at risk of blood clots that can cause a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death. Your healthcare professional may prescribe medicines to help reduce your risk for blood clots. Although many people with CAD take only a daily aspirin, it may not be enough to reduce blood clot risk.

Why Aspirin Alone May Not Be Enough

A large study of almost 40,000 people, including those with coronary artery disease (CAD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD), showed that even though more than half were taking aspirin, the number of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths more than doubled over a two-year period.*

Your healthcare professional may prescribe a blood thinner in addition to your daily aspirin to help reduce your underlying risk for blood clots that can cause a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death.

*According to data from the REACH Registry.

What’s Next?

Read Getting Started With XARELTO® for more information about how XARELTO® works with aspirin to help reduce your risk for life-threatening blood clots related to CAD.