What you should know
Atherectomy is a procedure used to remove plaque that narrows or blocks your arteries. Plaque is fat, cholesterol, or tissues that build up on the inner artery wall. Blood flow is decreased when plaque builds up and narrows the arteries. Decreased blood flow can cause chest pain or a heart attack.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your artery may be damaged or tear. Your arteries may become completely blocked during the procedure. This stops blood flow and may lead to a heart attack. You may need coronary artery bypass graft surgery. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.
The week before your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood tests, an EKG, or a chest x-ray before your procedure. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
The night before your procedure:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
A small incision will be made in your groin, arm, or wrist. A catheter will be inserted into your artery and moved to the blockage. You may be given dye so your surgeon can see the blockage clearly. He will use a cutting device to remove the plaque from your artery. Your incision will be closed with stitches.
After your procedure:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. You will have a bandage or pressure device on your incision to prevent bleeding. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your procedure.
- You have a fever.
- You get a cold or the flu.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
Seek Care Immediately ifYou have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.