Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty, is a nonsurgical procedure that improves blood flow to your heart.
PCI requires cardiac catheterization, which is the insertion of a catheter tube and injection of contrast dye, usually iodine-based, into your coronary arteries. They use PCI to open coronary arteries which 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.
A cardiologist, or doctor who specializes in the heart, will perform PCI in a hospital cardiac catheterization laboratory. You will stay awake, but you will be given medicine to relax you. Before the procedure, you will receive medicines through an intravenous (IV) line in the arm to prevent blood clots. Your doctor will clean and numb an area on the wrist or groin where your doctor will make a small hole and insert the catheter into your blood vessel. Live x rays will help the doctor to guide catheter into the heart to inject special contrast dye that will highlight 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. They may put a small mesh tube called a stent into the artery to help and keep the artery open.
After PCI, doctor will remove the catheters and close and bandage the opening on your wrist or groin. They may develop a bruise and soreness where the catheters are inserted. It is also common to have discomfort or bleeding where the catheters are inserted. If the stent is implanted, they need to take special anticlotting medicines exactly which are prescribed, for at least three to 12 months.
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