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Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) is a medical treatment to open up blocked blood vessels in the heart and to restore blood flow and oxygen to the heart.  When coronary (heart) blood vessels are blocked, a heart attack can occur.  Emergency PCI is necessary as soon as possible after the onset of a heart attack to restore the flow of critical blood enriched oxygen and stop the deleterious effects of heart damage.

How is it done?

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia in a cardiac catheterization suite using x-ray to visualize the coronary anatomy.  A slim catheter is inserted through the femoral vein and gently advanced into the affected coronary artery.  Once in place a balloon is inflated to open the blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow.  Sometime a tiny mesh like tube (stent) is place in the artery to help it remain open and maintain adequate blood flow.

Every minute counts!

American College of Cardiology recommends that emergency PCI be performed within 90 minutes of arrival at a hospital emergency department to restore blood flow and reduce the damage to the heart.