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Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) (cont.)

How is coronary heart disease treated?

Treatment of coronary artery disease centers around one main issue – the inadequate blood flow in the coronary arteries cannot meet the oxygen demand of the heart muscle. To prevent heart attacks, diet modification and medications (some designed to reduce cholesterol, others to reduce oxygen demand) are used. Mechanical methods, such as percutaneous coronary intervention and CABG (coronary artery bypass grafts) are procedures used to open the narrowed blood vessels of coronary artery disease.

What are the complications of percutaneous coronary intervention?

Although most percutaneous coronary intervention procedures are successful, there are a few patients that still have problems. For example, sometimes the catheter (or its guide wire) cannot get through the narrowed lumen, or a thrombus (blood clot) forms at the site if the inner lining of the artery tears at the balloon site. Although agents are used to chemically prevent clot formations, not all treatments are successful. A small percentage of current percutaneous coronary intervention procedures fail and may require emergent CABG surgery. The risk of a heart attack is minor in people that have percutaneous coronary intervention.

Current percutaneous coronary intervention mortality is less than very low. One large (905 patients) study reports an incidence of 6.7% patients develop a hematoma at the catheter entry site (groin or arm). Some patients may develop an aneurysm in the artery at the catheter entry site. Most patients will experience some bruising and tenderness at the catheter entry site.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/21/2016

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