Multivessel Coronary Artery Disease: Signs, Risks, Treatment


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 out of every 5 deaths.

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). This is when your coronary arteries become partially or completely blocked.

If this occurs in two or more of your major coronary arteries, it’s called multivessel coronary artery disease. Sometimes it’s also called multivessel disease (MVD).

Multivessel disease can be very serious. Some people may not know they have MVD until they have a heart attack.

Read on to learn more about what causes MVD, who’s at risk, and how it’s treated.

Your heart, like the other organs in your body, needs oxygen in order to function properly. Your coronary arteries are the arteries that transport oxygenated blood to your heart muscles, allowing them to pump blood to the rest of your body.

If your coronary arteries begin to narrow, it becomes more difficult for blood and oxygen to reach your heart.

One way this can happen is if plaque builds up in your arteries. Plaque is made up of fats, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances. When this happens, it’s called atherosclerosis.

If you have more than 70% narrowing in more than one of your coronary arteries, you have MVD.

Symptoms of MVD will vary from person to person. They could depend on the severity of your MVD, how quickly it progresses, and other health factors.

In some cases, MVD can be asymptomatic, which means you could have MVD without knowing it.

If you do experience symptoms of MVD, they could include:

Older adults, especially females and people with diabetes, may also experience abdominal pain along with vomiting.

It’s important to take these symptoms seriously. If you believe you may have MVD, don’t wait to go to the doctor.

Having multiple arteries narrowed by CAD comes with a significantly higher risk of death than having just one artery with CAD. CAD in any form is serious and should not be ignored.

The risk factors for MVD overlap with those of CAD and atherosclerosis. MVD risk factors include:

Some of these risk factors you may be aware of, while others you may not know about. It’s important to share this information with your doctor so they have a complete picture of your health.

While you can’t control all of these risk factors, you may be able to affect some of them. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke are all recommended by the American Heart Association to improve your overall heart health.

Heart damage usually means the muscles of your heart have been injured. One common way your heart muscles can be injured is by having a heart attack.

Heart muscles that stop receiving oxygen become damaged. The damage is usually worse the longer the treatment is delayed. Damaged heart muscle can heal, but may form scar tissue and does not function as well as healthy heart muscle.

MVD refers to the narrowing of your coronary arteries. This narrowing could ultimately lead to a heart attack or heart damage.

MVD is a serious diagnosis. The condition is especially dangerous because you may not know you have it until you experience a severe side effect, such as a heart attack. For this reason, preventing MVD is an important general practice.

There are some risk factors of MVD that you may be able to modify, such as:

In the long run, your outlook will depend on how quickly you receive treatment, the extent of the damage to your heart, and how well you’re able to manage your risk.

There are three types of treatment for MVD, and you might require one of them, or several in combination.

The first approach is lifestyle modifications. These can include:

  • ceasing smoking, if you smoke
  • minimizing alcohol use
  • exercising
  • reducing your salt intake
  • maintaining a moderate weight

The second approach is to use medications. These can include:

The last treatment for MVD would be a surgical intervention. Bypass surgery is the most common, but you could also receive an angioplasty with a stent.

What is the most common cause of coronary artery disease?

The buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) in your coronary arteries is generally the cause of CAD. The most common risk factors for atherosclerosis include:

  • high LDL cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • age (males over 45 years, females over 55 years)
  • being male
  • family history

How do you know if you have coronary artery disease?

The only way to know for sure is to receive a medical diagnosis. You can have CAD without having any symptoms. If you think you might have CAD, make an appointment with a doctor right away.

What is the ICD 10 code for coronary artery disease?

The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD 10) is a coding system used in the healthcare industry for billing and record-keeping purposes. The code for MVD is I25.1, although there are many more specific subcodes depending on your particular circumstances.

If you have multivessel coronary artery disease (MVD), it means that more than one of the arteries supplying blood to your heart muscles are very narrow. You heart muscles will receive less oxygenated blood and could suffer damage.

MVD is common, and many people don’t know they have it until they have a severe symptom, such as a heart attack. You can reduce your risk of MVD with healthy lifestyle choices.

Treatments will usually include a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery.

If you think you might have any form of heart disease or heart damage, talk to a doctor or specialist such as a cardiologist.


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