What are percutaneous coronary intervention procedures?
Percutaneous is a term that refers to procedures where access to inner organs is gained through a small puncture in your skin, rather than exposing the organs by creating a larger opening (usually with a scalpel).
Percutaneous coronary interventions, then, are procedures used to remove blockages or to improve blood flow through your arteries by using a small entrance in your skin to reach your arteries.
What PCI procedures do you perform?
- Balloon angioplasty:
A long, thin, flexible tube (called a catheter) is inserted into an artery in your arm or leg. The catheter is moved to the blocked or narrowed artery in your heart. A tiny balloon is then put through the catheter and inflated for a short period of time in order to push on the plaque against the wall of the artery. This creates more room for your blood to flow through your arteries. The balloon is then deflated and removed.
- Coronary stents:
A small, permanent, expandable tube called a stent is placed in your artery to improve blood flow by pressing the plaque against the artery walls. Stents may also be used to seal tears in the wall of the artery, to prevent it from collapsing, or to prevent plaque from dislodging from the artery wall (which causes heart attacks).
- Rotational atherectomy:
A rotational “burr” is used to break up blockages in your arteries. The burr rotates at a very high speed to break down blockages into pieces that are small enough to safely pass through your arteries.
- Laser angiography
- Thrombus extraction
Why would I need a PCI procedure?
Percutaneous coronary intervention procedures may need to be performed after a cardiac catheterization. PCI procedures are normally needed due to a blockage in your artery or restricted blood flow.
Who performs the procedure?
The PCI procedures will be performed by one of our interventional cardiologists who are trained to safely and effectively perform the procedures. They are required to maintain procedural competency and to keep updated on nuances of these evolving technologies.
What should I expect after having a PCI procedure done?
You will be required to stay overnight in the hospital, or longer if needed. Upon discharge, you will be given a plan for medical therapy. Follow-up with your cardiologist is also highly recommended.