Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)

PCI, commonly known as coronary angioplasty or simply angioplasty, is a therapeutic procedure used to treat the stenotic (narrowed) coronary arteries found in coronary heart disease. A catheter with an attached deflated low profile balloon at the distal end is pushed forward through the femoral artery in the leg or the radial artery or brachial artery in the arm until the deflated balloon is inside of the blockage of the coronary artery. The balloon is then inflated and stretches the artery wall to expand. If an expandable wire mesh tube, called a stent, was on the balloon, then the stent will be implanted (left behind) to support the new stretched open position of the artery from the inside to prevent re-occlusion. Compared with the coronary artery bypass grafting, PCI can be performed under local anesthesia requiring no open chest surgery.