Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is performed in a Cath Lab and requires cardiac catheterization. This involves using a catheter tube and injection of contrast, usually iodine-based, into your coronary arteries. The PCI procedure is used to open coronary arteries that are narrowed or blocked by the buildup of plaque. PCI may also be used to relieve symptoms of coronary heart disease or to reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.
The catheter can be inserted into your blood vessel through the wrist or groin. This catheter will be guided by live imaging with special contrast to highlight and locate the blockage. Another catheter will be inserted over a guidewire and a balloon will be inflated at the tip of the catheter to open the blocked artery. If needed, a mesh tube (stent) is placed in your artery to help keep the artery open. The catheters are then removed and the insertion site is closed.