Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a procedure used to treat narrowed or blocked blood vessels supplying the heart (coronary arteries). It should only be performed in patients with ischaemic heart muscle. The procedure may be done directly after diagnostic coronary angiography (ad hoc PCI) or a few days to weeks after the coronary angiogram (elective PCI) in stable patients. It may also be done acutely (acute PCI or primary PCI) in patients suffering from a heart attack.
“My utmost priority is to provide the highest quality and most up-to-date cardiovascular care to all my patients. I aim to achieve this using a holistic approach in a personable and empathetic atmosphere, while taking into consideration each individual patient’s own wishes and hopes for their medical care.”
PCI is performed using a local anaesthetic. It is normally done through the right or left wrist (radial artery) but may also be performed through the groin (femoral artery), particularly if you’ve had a previous bypass. A narrow tube (guiding catheter) is passed through the arm or groin up to the heart. A thin wire called a guidewire is then threaded through the narrowed or blocked artery. At this stage intracoronary imaging using OCT or IVUS may be performed to determine the size and length of the blockage or narrowing. The blockage is then dilated using a small balloon after which a stent is implanted. Following stent deployment, intracoronary imaging may be used to check the procedural result and for any complications. During the procedure you may experience some transient chest discomfort, which usually disappears after a few seconds to minutes. After the procedure a pressure band is wrapped around the wrist for 2 to 4 hours in order to allow the vascular access site to heal. If the procedure is performed through the groin, a closure device is used and you will need to lie flat on your back for up to 4 hours.
Depending on the complexity of the procedure and co-existing medical conditions, you may be discharged on the day of the procedure or the day after the procedure.