Percutaneous Coronary Intervention In Atlanta
In patients with poorly controlled heart disease, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) provides a less invasive alternative to bypass surgery. It allows an interventional cardiologist or radiologist to treat coronary artery disease by directly opening narrowed or obstructed arteries via a long tube (catheter) inserted into the arterial system. After being brought to the catheterization room, the patient is given a mild sedative for comfort. The site of insertion (the groin or occasionally arm) is prepared in a sterile manner, and then numbed using a local anesthetic. An incision is made, and a plastic sheath is inserted into the artery.
A special catheter is introduced through this sheath and directed to the heart using X-ray equipment. Dye may be injected to confirm the severity of blockages in the coronary arteries. Various corrective procedures may then be performed, most often angioplasty (opening the blockage using a balloon) and stent placement (inserting a metal tube to prop open the site of blockage.) PCI immediately increases blood flow to heart tissue, and is of greatest benefit to patients with unstable heart disease. Precautions similar to those for cardiac catheterization are taken, and the risk of complications is similarly low.