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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Angioplasty (PCI)

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), commonly known as angioplasty, is a procedure used to treat patients with diseased (narrowed or blocked) arteries in the heart. Arteries in the heart are also known as the coronary arteries. PCI is performed to widen the diseased coronary arteries to allow blood to flow more freely through the heart alleviating chest pain (angina) and/or minimizing heart muscle damage during an acute heart attack. PCI is also referred to as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).

During a cardiac catheterization, a thin catheter (tube) is inserted in an artery of the body, such as the femoral, brachial or radial arteries, and carefully passed to the heart. Once the catheter is correctly placed in the heart dye (contrast) is injected and X-rays are taken. The contrast allows the coronary arteries of the heart to be seen and assessed for blockage or narrowing which may cause a heart attack.

If, during the cardiac catheterization blockage is found in the coronary arteries, treatment may be done at that time. Treatment may include an angioplasty (PCI) and often stent placement. During angioplasty, a small tube (catheter) with a balloon at the tip is inserted into the narrowed coronary artery. The balloon is slowly inflated to open up the artery. At this time, a small metal coil (stent) may be inserted to keep the narrow artery open.

Below are our quality measures that specifically relate to PCI.



Safe Care


Last UpdateApril 22, 2014

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