Percutaneous coronary intervention (also known as coronary angioplasty) is a surgical means of treating atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries due to the buildup of fat and cholesterol in artery walls. Atherosclerosis can restrict blood flow, which may lead to heart attack or stroke. PCI opens up clogged arteries by inserting a small balloon to the affected area via a catheter inserted in the groin. The balloon is inflated at the site of the clog to widen the artery. In many cases, angioplasty is combined with stent placement in the artery. A stent is a wire mesh tube which is used to keep the artery open.
Some patients who are suffering from complex coronary artery disease or advanced heart failure may not be appropriate for standard angioplasty or stent placement. If your doctor feels you have additional health risks, you may instead be suitable for protected percutaneous coronary intervention .
Protected PCI involves angioplasty and stent placement with added support from a special pump, called an Impella device, which pumps blood from your heart. This pump may be necessary for some people if traditional percutaneous coronary intervention has the possibility of placing too much strain on the body.
The Impella device keeps your blood pressure and blood flow at a normal rate and reduces the amount of work your heart has to do. This prevents your heart from getting overstressed during the procedure. The Impella device is guided to your heart through an artery near your groin. Once in place, it delivers blood from your left ventricle and into your ascending aorta, the same effect that happens with the normal pumping motion of your heart. While this is occurring, your interventional cardiologist will be going through the standard PCI procedure to treat your heart disease.
Due to the complex nature of protected PCI and severity of heart disease that requires it, only hospitals that offer open heart surgery are able to perform this procedure.
Schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists.