Complex Percutaneous Interventions at Georgia Heart Institute

As atherosclerosis, also known as coronary artery disease, becomes more advanced and extensive, it can become more complex to treat. In addition to the stage of disease affecting the coronary arteries, there are several other factors that are important to consider when performing catheter-based procedures and percutaneous interventions (PCI) in particular.

PCI combines two different catheter-based procedures into one, angioplasty and stent placement, either of which may be performed on their own to treat certain types and levels of disease. Angioplasty is a procedure that uses a specialized catheter with a balloon on the end, which is then inflated in the diseased artery to expand the vessel and restore blood flow.

What are complex PCIs?

There are no specific procedures or interventions that are strictly defined as simple or complex. Rather, a PCI may be described as complex or advanced depending on the unique characteristics of the disease, as well as the overall health of the patient. A few key factors that may classify an intervention as complex include:

  • Age of plaque/lesion: Depending on how long plaque build-up has been present, it may become calcified. Overtime, as plaque lesions develop in the artery, they become hardened and can be more difficult to treat.
  • Extent of plaque build-up: Atherosclerosis, also known as the narrowing and stiffening of arteries occurs as a result of plaque build-up. This condition is progressive, meaning without treatment, it continues to increase and expand – affecting more of the artery and obstructing more blood flow.
  • Number of vessels affected: If plaque build-up affects more than one blood vessel involving the branching point in the coronary tree, this is known as bifurcation which can be especially complex to treat.
  • Type of vessels affected: There are dozens of coronary arteries that vary in size and amount of blood flow it supplies to the heart. When one of major blood vessels is affected, this can increase the complexity of the intervention.
  • Structure of blood vessels: Every person’s blood vessels vary in shape, size and the number of bends and turns they have – all of which can affect how an intervention is performed, along with the techniques and devices used.

Why choose Georgia Heart Institute for complex PCI?

The Interventional Cardiology Program at Georgia Heart Institute is comprised of extremely experienced and knowledgeable experts that specialize in performing every type of coronary intervention, no matter how complex.

Having performed thousands of procedures each year, our experts have successfully diagnosed and treated the full range of conditions affecting the coronary arteries. Utilizing the latest equipment, technology and approaches, our patients will receive the highest level of clinical quality when it matters most. This includes innovative heart support devices, such as the Impella Balloon Pump, which can protect and support a patient’s heart during intervention if it is especially weak or they’re experiencing a critical blockage.

Plus, if other heart conditions have developed as a result of severe coronary artery disease, Georgia Heart Institute has comprehensive and highly-trained teams ready to treat heart rhythm disorders or structural heart diseases.

Connect With Our Program

Our interventional cardiologists perform all catheter-based procedures and treatments at the NGMC Gainesville and NGMC Braselton Cath Labs. To schedule a specific procedure, you will need a referral.

However, you can request an appointment with an interventional cardiologist or non-invasive cardiologist at any of our convenient locations. Your cardiologist will work with you to determine if an interventional cardiology procedure is needed and will help to coordinate that process for you.

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