PTCA can involve rather more complicated surgery, including the insertion of stents, which are coiled springs that keep the artery open.

Aldosterone antagonists

Aldosterone is a naturally occuring hormone released by the renal system. Its presence in the body regulates our sodium and potassium levels.

In the presence of decreased blood flow -- hypoperfusion -- in heart disease, the body tries to compensate by activating the aldosterone system. This can lead to an over-production of aldosterone, which can cause coronary inflammation and aggravate the underlying heart disease.

Aldosterone antagonists are drugs that inhibit the body's production of aldosterone and are prescribed in certain instances of heart disease.

The two aldosterone antagonists currently licensed for commercial use in the U.S are spironolactone and eplerenone. These drugs act in different ways and will be prescribed according to the cardiologist's findings.

Each has been shown to be life-saving in patients with advanced heart failure and are thought to be beneficial in certain patients with mild heart failure.

Patients undergoing treatment with these drugs are regularly monitored for potassium and renal function.