What is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)?
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a set of minimally invasive procedures, including stenting and angioplasty, used to treat CAD. There are many different percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) treatments to treat CAD, but it’s best to talk to your doctor about which may be right for you.
Until recently, it had been difficult to restore blood flow for patients with certain types of complicated coronary artery blockages, but percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) tools and techniques have advanced rapidly and offer outstanding, reliable results for many CAD patients today.
A coronary angioplasty is a type of minimally invasive procedure to treat CAD. Your heart doctor will thread a small tube, called a catheter, through an artery in your groin or arm, which then goes to an artery leading to the site of your blockage. A small balloon on the tip of the catheter is then slowly inflated to open the blockage.
Coronary artery stenting
Stenting is another type of minimally invasive procedure to treat CAD. During this procedure, a small mesh tube is put into your artery to widen it and restore blood flow to your heart. This mesh tube is called a stent. Once the stent is placed into the coronary artery, it expands with the inflation of a balloon catheter. The stent is left in the artery to keep it open and help prevent further narrowing of the coronary artery.
Depending on your specific needs, your doctor may choose a bare-metal stent or a drug-eluting stent. There are differences between these stent types, such as when there is a need for longer-term dual antiplatelet therapy, which you should discuss with your doctor.
Stents used to treat CAD include:
Bare-metal stents: provide support to help keep your artery open after angioplasty
Drug-eluting stents: a bare metal stent with a special drug added to help reduce the chance of the artery becoming blocked again. This drug is released from the stent over the period of time during which re-blockage is most likely to occur
- The SYNERGY Stent has a special coating that dissolves after it does its job—reducing the swelling (inflammation) that naturally happens when a stent is put in—for quick healing. The part that stays will provide ongoing protection that helps maintain a clear path for blood to flow to the heart.
Ask your doctor to provide more information on the different options available to you.
There are risks associated with any angioplasty or stent implant procedure. It is important that you review these risks with your heart doctor as they may include infection, allergic reactions, coronary vessel damage, blood clots and death.
What is complex percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)?
Complex PCI is designed to treat patients who have complex blockages, patients who have complex arteries, and patients who have CAD and other diseases that may make them ineligible for heart bypass surgery. Recent advancements in PCI have given doctors tools and techniques to be able to successfully treat more complex CAD patients than ever before, even patients who are still experiencing symptoms after being treated for CAD or have been told there are no other options besides medication.
What is complex coronary artery disease (CAD)?
A complex CAD patient will exhibit an abnormal blockage or other interventional complication that a cardiologist cannot easily manage.
You may want to seek a referral for a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) specialist to find the right treatment choice for you.
What is coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG)?
Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), or heart bypass, requires open-heart surgery. During surgery, arteries or veins are taken from another part of the body and used to reroute blood around blocked heart arteries.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) may be managed with a mixture of lifestyle changes, exercise, diet, and medical treatment. There are medications that are given to relieve chest pain due to blockages, but do not treat the blockage itself. Your doctor may prescribe a number of medications (aspirin, beta-blockers, cholesterol medications, etc.) to thin your blood and to help prevent blockage of the arteries.
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