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Coronary Atherectomy

Atherectomy (Laser)

Overview

In this minimally-invasive procedure, a catheter equipped with a laser tip is used to remove plaque from an obstructed coronary artery. The coronary arteries are the arteries that provide blood to the heart muscles. Laser atherectomy is typically most appropriate for the removal of softer types of plaque.

Preparation

In preparation for the procedure, the patient is positioned and anesthesia is administered. The physician makes a tiny incision in the groin and places a catheter into the femoral artery. The catheter is pushed up through the femoral artery and into the aorta. It is carefully guided through the aorta to the heart and into the obstructed coronary artery.

Removing the Obstruction

The laser device is inserted and positioned next to the obstruction. When the laser is turned on, it emits pulsating beams of light that vaporize the plaque. The catheter is then carefully pulled back out of the coronary artery and then withdrawn from the body.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed and the patient is taken to a recovery room for monitoring. The patient may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two after the procedure.