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What is coronary atherectomy?

Coronary atherectomy is a procedure to open a coronary artery that is blocked or narrowed by plaque. Coronary arteries are blood vessels that supply your heart muscle with blood. Coronary atherectomy improves blood flow to your heart muscle. It is a treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD), which is a risk factor for a heart attack.

Coronary atherectomy is a type of coronary angioplasty. It is only one method of treating narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Discuss all of your different treatment options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may recommend other procedures to diagnose or treat certain conditions. These include:

  • Balloon angioplasty uses a balloon to compress plaque against the artery wall and restore blood flow.

  • Coronary angiography allows your doctor to take pictures or images, called an angiogram, of your coronary arteries.

  • Minimally invasive bypass grafting provides a new route around diseased coronary arteries with healthy vessels taken from other places in your body. You may have general anesthesia if your doctor combines this surgery with atherectomy.

  • Stenting involves inserting a mesh tube (stent) inside the coronary artery. The stent expands and remains in place to keep the artery open after atherectomy.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 11, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Atherectomy. The Free Dictionary. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/atherectomy.
  2. Atherosclerosis Atherectomy. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/atherectomy/vs_atherosclerosis_atherectomy.aspx.
  3. Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Interventional Procedures. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/angioplasty/hic_cardiac_catheterization_and_coronary_interven....
  4. Directional coronary atherotomy - experimental use of single-blade cutting balloon. Journal of Invasive Cardiology. PubMed.gov. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16954583.
  5. Rotoblator. Baptist Health. http://www.baptist-health.com/heart_center/tech_proc/rotoblator/default.aspx.
  6. What Is Coronary Angioplasty? American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300437.pdf.

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