Formerly known as angioplasty with stent, PCI is a non-surgical procedure used to reopen narrowed arteries in the heart. It’s important to keep heart arteries open because blood flow becomes restricted when they narrow, leading to heart muscle damage or even death.
Narrowed arteries are most frequently caused by a buildup of cholesterol deposits (plaque). While genetics can play a role, the main causes include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking.
PCI can be used to relieve or reduce angina, alleviate congestive heart failure, prevent heart attacks or even stop one while it’s happening. It even allows some patients to avoid surgical treatment (coronary artery bypass graft or CABG) that involves extensive surgery and often long rehabilitation time.
The procedure is performed by inserting a catheter into an artery, typically through skin in the arm or groin. The catheter is then threaded through the inside of the artery to the narrowed portion where a device called a stent is inserted. A stent is a tiny metallic tube that locks into place against the arterial vessel wall and permits blood to flow freely from the heart.
A catheter with balloon is inserted into the artery.
The balloon is inflated and expands the stent.
The stent remains and the balloon is removed.
Our cardiac catheterization team, led by Drs. Alan Kirollos and
Pradeep Arumugham, is dedicated to giving our patients an
excellent experience at Lenoir Memorial. From preoperative
testing, through recovery and discharge, we want
to provide you with the best care possible.
Your physician’s office will work with you to arrange the cardiac catheterization.
PCI is an outpatient procedure meaning you will go home the same day. You will need a family member or friend to drive you, though.
If not physically intensive, many patients can return to work after the procedure in as little as three days.
Some patients may be referred to a rehabilitation center, but most are not.