Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a type of cardiac catheterization also known as angioplasty. During PCI, the cardiologist uses a special catheter with a balloon attached to it to widen blocked areas in blood vessels. In most instances, balloon angioplasty is followed by the insertion of a coronary stent.
Why Percutaneous Coronary Intervention is Performed
Doctors use PCI to open coronary arteries that are narrowed or blocked by the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque. PCI may be used to relieve symptoms of coronary heart disease or to reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.
Percutaneous coronary intervention is commonly referred to as angioplasty or balloon angioplasty. During the procedure, the doctor threads a thin tube (the catheter) through a blood vessel in the arm or groin up to the artery. The catheter has a tiny balloon on the end. When the tube is in place, the doctor inflates the balloon to push the plaque outward against the wall of the artery. This widens the artery and restores blood flow. After the coronary lesion is dilated, the doctor frequently inserts a scaffolding device called a stent to treat the coronary blockage more effectively and prevent recurrent blockages (restenosis).
Doctors may use angioplasty to
- Reduce symptoms associated with reduced blood flow to the heart, like chest pain
- Minimize damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack
What to Expect
PCI is performed on an outpatient basis at Cardiovascular ASC, LLC. The procedure itself doesn’t take long, but the preparation and recovery will take several hours. Your healthcare team should give you any necessary information and instructions to prepare for PCI.
Before the Procedure
After checking in to the Cardiovascular ASC, you will be taken to a patient room where a specialist will insert an IV to administer a sedative, medication to prevent blood clots, and fluids if needed. Percutaneous cardiac intervention procedures are performed using conscious sedation, meaning you will be awake but relaxed.
During the Procedure
Your cardiologist or a member of their team will clean and numb an area on the wrist or groin where your doctor will insert the catheter into your blood vessel. X-ray imaging will help your doctor guide the catheter into your heart to inject a special contrast dye that will visualize the blockage.
To open a blocked artery, your doctor will insert another catheter over a guidewire and inflate a balloon at the tip of that catheter. Your doctor may put a small mesh tube called a stent in your artery to help keep the artery open. After PCI, your doctor will remove the catheters and close and bandage the opening on your wrist or groin.
After the Procedure
After the percutaneous cardiac intervention procedure, you will recover in a room at the ASC. You will get instructions on how much activity you can do and what medicines to take. Make sure you follow all of these aftercare instructions. You will need a ride home because of the medicines or anesthesia you received.
Your doctor will check your progress during a follow-up visit. If a stent is implanted, you will have to take special anti-clotting medicines exactly as prescribed. These blood thinners (platelet inhibitors) are taken from one to 12 months following the procedure. Aspirin is usually continued for life.
Contact ASC, LLC
At Cardiovascular ASC, LLC our board-certified cardiologists and electrophysiologists utilize advanced technologies to deliver the highest quality care in a cost-effective setting. Call Cardiovascular ASC, LLC at 727-449-9891 to learn more about our facility and the services we provide.