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Coronary Atherectomy

Atherectomy is a procedure that relieves symptoms of coronary artery disease by improving blood flow to your heart.

Plaque is ground into small particles
Plaque is ground into small particles.

The blood flow to the heart muscle increases
The blood flow to the heart muscle increases.

Insertion sites may be in the groin or the arm
Insertion sites may be in the groin or the arm.

During the Procedure

  • A guide wire is inserted through the guiding catheter (a thin, flexible tube) and moved to the narrow spot in your artery. Your doctor tracks its movement on an angiogram, a special kind of x-ray.

  • Then, a special atherectomy catheter carrying a grinding device is positioned at the narrow spot in your coronary artery.

  • An abrasive burr near the tip of the catheter grinds the plaque into small particles that float harmlessly away in the bloodstream.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You have angina (chest pain).

  • The insertion site has pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or drainage.

  • You have severe pain, coldness, or a bluish color in the leg or arm that held the catheter.

  • You experience blood in your urine, black or tarry stools, or any other kind of bleeding.

  • You have a fever over 101.0°F.

After the Procedure

  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you how long to lie down and keep the insertion site still.

  • If the insertion site was in your groin, you may need to lie down with your leg still for several hours.

  • A nurse will check the insertion site and your blood pressure. Before going home, you may have a chest x-ray and other tests.

  • You usually remain in the hospital for several hours or overnight.

Online Medical Reviewer: Garg, Manish, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jey, Arthur Ricardo, MD
Last Review Date: 3/26/2012
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