Solving Heart Problems: Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
Your heart is similar to an engine. It is the “driving force” in your body that pumps blood and throughout your limbs and keeps basic life functions intact. While your heart is its own device so to say, it depends on a system of arteries to actually pump blood through the body, and then back to the heart. Sometimes these arteries become clogged and cause trouble for the heart.
Your blood carries pieces of fat, cholesterol and other substances with it. Sometimes the fat and cholesterol can join together and build up on the sides of the arteries. The substance that builds up on the sides of the arteries is called plaque and can cause problems for your heart (this is coronary artery disease). Think about plaque buildup in arteries like hair in a shower drain. As hair gets caught water flows through the pipes slower, after more hair builds up, the pipe does not allow any water to flow and must be cleaned out. There are some advanced medical procedures available to help open up arteries and restore proper blood flow. These procedures fall under the heading of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.
- Balloon Angioplasty - This procedure involves feeding a catheter (a very thin tube) into the arteries themselves. The catheter has a small balloon attached to it. Once the catheter has reached the clogged area the balloon inflates and deflates in the clogged area. As it expands it pushes the plague against the walls of the artery, reducing the size of the blockage. This allows more blood (and the oxygen that the blood carries) to reach the heart.
- Atherectomies - In this procedure a catheter is also sent to the blocked portion(s) of the artery. Once it arrives it rotates in a circle and actually cuts the plague off of the side of the artery. This is different than balloon angioplasty because it actually removes the plague as opposed to compressing it. Once the plaque is cut away, blood flow to the heart is immediately improved.
- Coronary Stenting - This procedure is generally used in combination with one of the above procedures. A coronary stent is basically a brace that is placed inside an artery. They are usually made out of stainless steel mesh and are available in various sizes. After a procedure has been performed to remove plaque or expand an artery, the stent is put into place to brace the artery and hold it open. If successfully implemented coronary stents can increase blood flow to the heart and reduce the need for more extensive surgeries.
These procedures represent the more common techniques that make up Percutaneous Coronary Intervention. These procedures can save lives and improve the overall health of patients. Not every medical facility has the necessary staff and equipment to perform these life saving procedures. Northwest Medical Center is proud to offer these advanced services to patients in Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs and all surrounding areas. We have approval from the state of Florida to treat patients using these methods 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.