For patients with coronary artery disease who are experiencing significant chest pain, shortness of breath, and/or other symptoms of partially obstructed arteries, elective angioplasty can help relieve those symptoms, and in some patients, prevent the chance of more serious heart conditions.
L+M already has outstanding clinical experience performing angioplasty procedures on heart attack patients, having eastern Connecticut’s only Emergency PCI program (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention).
Elective angioplasty is a new patient procedure at L+M, and is offered in affiliation with the Yale-New Haven Hospital Heart and Vascular Center. Elective angioplasty can help patients live better lives without the need for invasive open heart surgery.
Angioplasty involves the insertion of a thin plastic tube, known as a sheath, into the patient’s artery. Next, a specialized balloon-tipped catheter is guided by X-ray imaging through the sheath to the exact location of the obstruction in the artery. Once in position, the balloon device is inflated, thereby opening the vessel so that blood can once again flow freely through the artery.
In the vast majority of cases, a stent is also deployed inside the artery to ensure that the vessel remains open.
When a catheter is inserted into a patient’s artery, it requires only a small needle puncture either in the groin area (to access the femoral artery) or at the wrist (to access the radial artery).
Elective angioplasty usually requires only a local anesthetic and the patient can typically expect an overnight stay in the hospital for monitoring.
Emergency Angioplasty (also known as emergency PCI) is the most effective way to treat most heart attack victims, saving heart muscle and saving lives.
At L+M, Yale-affiliated cardiologists are on call round-the-clock to provide the service, which involves inserting an image-guided sheath and catheter into a patient’s arteries, finding the blood clot that is causing the heart attack, clearing that clot, and, finally, inserting a balloon device and stent to keep the artery open.
Patients can also be transferred to L+M’s Coronary Care Unit for additional care if necessary. Time is of the essence when treating heart attack victims, and L+M’s PCI times exceed the national standard of 90 minutes in a vast majority of cases, with 62 minutes being the hospital’s most common “door to balloon” time.