Angioplasty / PCI


What is PCI?

Angioplasty and Stenting are part of a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI. The PCI Procedure is performed to improve the blood flow from the arteries of the heart to the heart muscle.

What does PCI involve?

A thin flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery either in the wrist or groin. A small wire is inserted through the catheter into the heart artery. Over this wire a tube with a balloon tip is inserted and placed where the artery narrows. The balloon is inflated to widen the artery then it is deflated and removed.

A stent is commonly inserted during PCI, this is a small mesh tube made of metal mounted onto a balloon so that as the balloon is expanded the stent is deployed and stretches open, widening the artery and staying in place to stay in place as support. Once the stent is implanted it stays in permanently. More than one stent may be inserted during the procedure.

It is natural that some patients feel nervous undergoing medical procedures, therefore we are able to provide options for sedation that do not normally affect your recovery. Options for this can be discussed with your operator before your procedure.  Sometimes during this type of procedure patients may experience some discomfort. If this is the case it is important to tell the staff caring for you, as they can provide pain relief.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure you will be escorted from recovery to a ward. Many of these procedures are performed as a day case, therefore patients are escorted to the General Medical Day Unit (GMDU) for recovery. Occasionally your consultant may want you to stay overnight, if this is the case you may go to GMDU or Kilverstone ward to recover. Overnight stay patients are normally discharged by nursing staff first thing the next morning.

For more information from The British Heart Foundation on Angioplasty click here.