Atherectomy is a procedure that relieves symptoms of coronary artery disease by
improving blood flow to your heart. It's done to remove plaque from the arteries that
feed blood to the heart muscle. It's done using a small, thin tube (catheter) inserted
into a blood vessel and guided to the blocked blood vessel. There, a device is used
grind or vaporize the plaque buildup to improve blood flow. It may be used instead
during an atherectomy?
The skin at the insertion site (usually the
groin, wrist, or arm) is numbed with a local anesthetic. A needle puncture is made
so the catheter can be inserted.
A guide wire is inserted through the guiding
catheter and moved to the narrow spot in your artery. Your healthcare provider
tracks its movement on an angiogram, a special kind of X-ray.
Then, a catheter with a grinding device at the
tip is positioned at the narrow spot in your coronary artery.
An abrasive burr at the tip of the catheter
grinds the plaque into small particles that float harmlessly away in the
after an atherectomy?
You will need to lie down and keep the insertion
site still for a period of time. The amount of time may depend on whether a
closure device, such as a stitch or collagen plug, was used to close the opening
made in your artery. The time you must be still may be shorter if one of these
devices was used. The amount of time will also depend on if there is any bleeding
at the artery site.
If the insertion site was in your groin, you may need to lie down with your leg
straight 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 may be able to go home the same day or you may spend the night in the
hospital after your procedure. Depending on your condition and the results of your
procedure, your stay may be longer. You will get detailed instructions for your
discharge and recovery period.
When to call the healthcare
Contact your healthcare provider if any of these occur:
The insertion site has pain, swelling, severe bruising, redness, bleeding, or
You have new or abnormal back pain
You have blood in your urine, black or tarry stools, or any other kind of
You have a fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare
Call 911 if any of these occur:
Online Medical Reviewer: Steven Kang MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Callie Tayrien RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed:
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