Angioplasty (also referred to as percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI) may be done as emergency treatment for a heart attack (primary angioplasty) or as a method of preventing a heart attack (non-emergent angioplasty).
When minutes count, the cardiac team at Lowell General Hospital offers emergency angioplasty services where other community hospitals can’t. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is performed where specialized tubes are passed into the central arterial circulation and the heart's coronary arteries. Dye is then injected through these tubes and imaged by means of X-ray to locate the blockages. Additional treatments such as balloon dilation (PTCA) and/or stent placement may also be used to clear the blockage.
This therapeutic treatment is performed in an elective or non-emergency situation to help prevent a possible heart attack by widening narrowed arteries for better blood flow. This is a procedure that your cardiologist may recommend in order to help decrease your risk of heart attack and prevent further damage.
The Heart and Vascular Center team at Lowell General Hospital reached a big milestone in early 2016, performing their 1,000th angioplasty to treat a ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) - what we know as a severe heart attack. A STEMI is a major heart attack in which a heart artery is completely blocked. With the heart starved of oxygen-rich blood, heart muscle damage starts to happen.