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What is Atherectomy?
Atherectomy is a minimally invasive procedure to remove atherosclerosis from a blood vessel. It is also used to treat peripheral arterial disease and coronary artery disease. A sharp blade attached to a catheter is used to remove plaque. The plaque is collected by the catheter and removed.
How is the Atherectomy Performed?
How to Prepare for Atherectomy?
- A catheter is inserted through a small puncture of the artery in the leg.
- The plaque is scraped away using the blade attached to the catheter.
- A chamber in the catheter collects the plaque for removal.
- The catheter may need to be inserted many times to remove a large amount of atherosclerosis.
- A few days before atherectomy, certain tests need to be performed on the patient.
- The patient may need to discontinue some medications before the procedure.
- The patient’s full medical checkup needs to be conducted.
Duration of procedure/surgery : Approximately 2 hours
Days admitted : 1 to 2 days
Anesthesia : Local anesthesia
Recovery : - After the procedure, the patient is required to lie down flat for 3 hours or more in the recovery room where the patient’s condition is monitored closely.
- The patient will continue to receive intravenous medication like blood thinners to prevent clotting.
Risks : - Embolization – debris blocking the arteries are dislodged in the lower area of the leg
- Restenosis – the artery is re-blocked, usually if the patient smokes cigarettes
After care : - The patient should take the required medications as per the doctor’s instructions.
- Over-the-counter medicines should not be taken without consulting the doctor.
- The patient should not drive while taking narcotic medication.
- The patient should take a healthy diet after a consultation with the dietician. Lots of liquid intake is recommended.
- The patient should exercise regularly, which makes the heart stronger.
- The patient should quit smoking.
- Stress should be avoided and relaxing techniques should be practiced by the patient.
The patient should contact the doctor if the following symptoms occur:
- Infection or bleeding at the catheter insertion site
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Heavy sweating
- The leg that was used the atherectomy becomes painful or numb or cold and pale
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