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Atherectomy is a procedure that is done to remove plaques that block the arteries (blood vessels). Plaques are fat, cholesterol, or tissues that are clogged in the inner wall of the arteries. Although arteries are present throughout the body, plaque most often builds up in the arteries of the heart. When plaques build up inside the blood vessels, blood flow may be decreased. With a decreased blood flow, your heart muscles may not get enough oxygen. This can cause angina (chest pain), heart disease, or a heart attack.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have redness, discharge, or pain in the area where the catheter was inserted.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your atherectomy, illness, or medicine.


  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have any of the following:
    • Chest pain that spreads to your arms, jaw, or back.
    • Sweating more than usual.
    • There is bleeding, increased bruising, and swelling where the catheter was inserted.
    • Your leg used for the atherectomy becomes cold, numb, pale, or is very painful.
    • This is an emergency. Call 911 or 0 (operator) to get to the nearest hospital or clinic. Do not drive yourself!

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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.