Tests and Procedures

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What is atherectomy?

Atherectomy is the removal of arterial plaque.

What are the four types of atherectomy?

  • Laser atherectomy: Commonly used to remove enough plaque to allow for balloon angioplasty.
  • Rotational atherectomy: Used to treat arteries with very long, calcified, or solid blockages. This technique can also remove plaque that has regrown inside a stent.
  • Directional atherectomy: Employs a catheter tipped with a device consisting of a cup-shaped blade and a container. This blade cuts away plaque from the artery and deposits it into the container for removal from the body.
  • Transluminal extraction: Involves a special catheter tipped with a hollow tube and rotating blades. As the blades cut plaque away from the arterial wall, the debris is suctioned out of the body through the tube.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

The risks can include artery perforation, cardiac arrhythmias, vascular spasm, or vapor bubbles that can damage artery walls.