Coronary arteries blocked by plaque buildup are a leading cause of heart attack. A relatively simple, nonsurgical procedure known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) can open coronary arteries and help prevent a future heart attack. Karthik Gujja, MD, MPH, is a board-certified cardiologist and endovascular surgeon with offices at Long Island Heart & Vascular in Westbury and Ridgewood, New York. He’s well-known for his skill in diagnosing and treating conditions that threaten your heart health. Find out if PCI is right for you. Schedule a visit with Dr. Gujja today. Call the office or schedule your appointment online.
PCI is designed to remove plaque buildup that’s narrowing the coronary arteries and restricting blood flow to the heart. It’s also referred to as coronary angioplasty. The procedure commonly includes the placement of a small device (stent) that remains within the artery. This helps support the artery walls and may prevent future re-narrowing of the artery.
Dr. Gujja might suggest angioplasty if medications, lifestyle changes, or other conservative measures aren't enough to reduce risks to your heart health. It can also be performed during a heart attack to quickly increase blood flow to your heart and decrease the risks of significant heart damage.
Not everyone is a candidate for angioplasty, though. If, for instance, you have multiple blockages or weak heart muscles, Dr. Gujja may recommend coronary artery bypass surgery as a more effective option.
Compared with bypass surgery, when appropriate, angioplasty offers a nonsurgical option for restoring normal blood flow to your heart. All the work during angioplasty takes place inside the targeted artery.
Typically, only one very small and relatively shallow incision is created for the procedure. Compared with traditional open surgery, this reduces trauma to surrounding tissue, decreases your risk of bleeding or infection, and provides a quicker return to normal activities.
Dr. Gujja provides detailed information, instructions, and aftercare guidelines before scheduling the procedure.
Generally, however, angioplasty is performed while you’re awake but under sedation to help you relax. After numbing the site, Dr. Gujja uses a small needle and incision to access an artery in your leg, usually the femoral artery, or arm.
Dr. Gujja then inserts a small guidewire and flexible tube (catheter) carrying a deflated medical balloon and/or stent into the artery and guides it via X-ray imaging to the targeted blockage. Once there, he inflates the balloon, widens the artery, places the stent if applicable, and removes the deflated balloon via the catheter.
For more information about PCI and whether you’re a candidate, schedule a visit at Long Island Heart & Vascular today. Call the office or use the online tool to book your appointment.