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Percutaneous Coronary Intervention: Safe, Low Risk, Fast Recovery

Chest pain and easy fatigability may be caused by ischemic heart disease which sometimes can turn into an emergency and abruptly become life-threatening.

Chest pain and easy fatigability may be caused by ischemic heart disease which sometimes can turn into an emergency and abruptly become life-threatening. Coronary artery intervention with contrast injection is a procedure to diagnose and treat narrowed atherosclerotic coronary arteries.

The procedure is performed by interventional cardiologist in a cardiac catheterization unit. Patient is placed supine on a table under X-ray fluoroscopy machine and remains awake throughout the procedure as general anesthesia is not used. After the skin puncture site at the wrist or groin is painted with antiseptic solution and infiltrated with local anesthetic, a slender, long hallowed catheter the size of a small straw will be inserted and threaded over a guide wire through an artery up to the heart. Contrast medium injection under fluoroscopic imaging to visualize and locate diseased coronary arteries will first be performed. If stenosis or blockages of coronary arteries are found, percutaneous coronary intervention with balloon angioplasty and intraluminal stent implantation will be carried out to dilate and prop up narrowed coronary arteries and restore blood flow. The procedure usually takes about 30-60 minutes. Patient will be closely monitored in the recovery room after the procedure for stability of blood pressure, heart rhythm and other conditions. Restraints will be put in place around the wrist or over the groin to limit movement.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a widely adopted, minimally invasive procedure with short recovery period. In the United States alone, more than 900,000 PCI procedures are performed annually. Side effects such as soreness at the injection site, bruises, bleeding, cardiac arrhythmia, or contrast allergies are seldom encountered.




Article by
Dr Wootipong Vootiprux
Physician Specializing in Cardiology and Vascular Disease
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