Coronary Angioplasty – a 30 to 40 minute procedure in which a small balloon is inserted in an artery via a catheter and inflated to open an area of blockage.
Atherectomy – a procedure involving a catheter with a rotating tip that either breaks up calcified plaque into very small particles or removes the plaque.
Stent – a small mesh sleeve, used over an angioplasty balloon an left in place as a framework to keep an area of blockage open. Recent developments of new stents that are coated with drugs to help prevent recurrence of blockage due to formation of scar tissue (restenosis) are revolutionary techniques.
To diagnose coronary artery disease you may be asked to undergo an angiography procedure (heart catheterization). The angiography is done in the catheterization laboratory at the hospital. During this procedure the patient is sedated and a small sheath (short hollow tube) is inserted through a puncture site in the groin area (femoral artery). Through this sheath a catheter is maneuvered to the heart arteries where a special dye is injected and x-ray pictures can be taken of the heart arteries. If treatment is needed, the interventional or non-surgical procedures can be done through this sheath.
Treatment for coronary artery disease can be done surgically by coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABGS) or non-surgically by percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).