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Atherectomy is a medical procedure used to remove plaques from the blood vessels. Plaques are the fatty deposits in the blood vessels that cause narrowing of blood vessels leading to heart attack, stroke, and many other complications. Atherectomy uses a catheter with a blade or laser at its tip to remove the plaques and improve the blood flow through the blood vessel.

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How is the Atherectomy Performed?

Atherectomy is performed under local anesthetics. Before the procedure, your physician will ask about any medication that you may be taking. He will advise you to take anticoagulants and blood-thinning medicines before the procedure. The procedure shouldn’t be performed during pregnancy as it can cause serious birth defects due to radiation exposure.

During the Procedure:

Atherectomy is performed under local anesthetics. Before the procedure, your physician will ask about any medication that you may be taking.
  1. Your healthcare team will inject local anesthesia at the site of insertion of the catheter. The catheter is usually inserted at the groin region, although the arm or wrist is also suitable for insertion.
  2. You will receive proper pain management to calm yourself. As general anesthesia is not required, you will be awake during the procedure.
  3. The catheter is advanced towards the site of blockage under the guidance of X-rays and radiography.
    When it reaches the blocked artery, the physician injects a contrast dye to take angiograms that help him to locate the plaque. You may feel a headache and a metallic taste when the dye is injected.
  4. After locating the exact position of the plaque, your healthcare provider will cut down the plaque with the help of a blade or laser at the tip of the catheter.
  5. Plaque material is collected in a little chamber present at the tip of the catheter that may be used for further evaluation (3). As plaque is removed, blood flow through the vessel improves.
  6. After removing the plaque, the catheter is pulled out slowly, and the insertion site is closed by sutures or by applying pressure manually.

After the Procedure:

Take rest for a few hours after the procedure. Avoid performing heavy tasks for seven days. Examine the insertion site regularly. Bruising at the insertion site is common; however, if you notice bleeding, swelling, or any other complications, contact your physician immediately. Atherectomy is a minimum invasive technique to remove plaques and doesn’t require long hospitalization. However, the procedure should be performed by an experienced vascular surgeon. Vascular Health is specialized in procedures that re-establish normal blood flow and vascular care. If you have any concerns regarding your vascular health, book an appointment now!

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