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What is a PCI?

Hi,

If you think you'll ever have a heart attack, learn about this procedure called:  Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI).

Here is some information from heartandstroke.ca:

What is a PCI?

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI, formerly known as angioplasty with stent) is a non-surgical procedure that uses a catheter (a thin flexible tube) to place a small structure called a stent to open up blood vessels in the heart that have been narrowed by plaque buildup, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

 

Thanks,

Z

I believe my uncle had something like this done to clear some of his blood vessels. It's scary stuff, but I'm glad it works so well at saving lives. I worry about getting up there in age and having to do something like this myself.

This is an invasive procedure, but it is not surgical.  They don't crack open your chest, and directly work on the heart like a surgical operation.

It's minimally invasive.  They put you in a lab called the Cath lab, where they set you up in a sterile or aseptic field, so you don't get infected.  Then, they basically choose an access site in your body, either an artery in your groin (upper leg), or in your wrist.  They numb the site first with Lidocaine (similar to what you get in a Dental office), and then they stick you with this needle called a "Percutaneous" needle, which goes into an artery.  After that, they put this tube in you called a sheath, and that's how they establish access to the inside of your body.

After they establish access, they put this catheter over a wire inside the sheath, and they take this catheter all the way up to your heart.  Then, they inject this contrast dye, and under X-radiation, they can visualize the arteries of your heart as the dye is mixed with your blood inside your arteries.  Once they see a severe stenosis or blockage in one of the arteries, that's when they decide to do the "Coronary Intervention".  That's when they take a balloon inside the severely stenosed area and inflate the balloon to open up the area, and then a stent is placed inside the same area of the artery to keep it open.

Here are a couple of pictures:

This first one shows a severe artery before and after the placement of a stent (From MyHeart.Net):

 

This next one shows how the balloon is being inflated, and then the stent is deployed (From University of Minnesota - Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy):

Thanks,

Z

 

This is really impressive ones as many developing country doesn't have facility to cure heart attack at affordable price and often ignore medication and surgery. This is good alternative option for me which must have great results.

Yes, not all hospitals have capabilities and privileges for open heart surgeries, and so for heart attack emergencies, these hospitals can apply to become "STEMI Receiving Centers", where they will do this emergency PCI procedure.  A STEMI is just the medical word for heart attack.

Unfortunately, while this PCI procedure is very good, it does not help fix completely every single case of a heart attack, because a few heart attacks are so bad, that only open heart surgery will help.  Some hospitals will fly over a patient from a small town hospital to a bigger city hospital if they think open heart surgery is the only chance for a full recovery.

Thanks,

Z

I think it is good idea to have PCI as nonsurgical procedure that improves blood flow to your heart means cheaper and painless option but results may be varied because it is not a final solution but often handy when you have first attack or early detection.