Atherectomy is a procedure done to open a partially blocked blood vessel to the heart so that blood can flow through it more easily. The procedure removes fat and calcium buildup (plaque) in the heart arteries.
During an atherectomy, a thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through an artery in the groin or arm and carefully guided into the coronary artery that is narrowed. When the tube reaches the narrowed portion of the artery, the doctor uses a special cutting device (a blade or a whirling blade) to remove the plaque buildup from the artery wall.
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