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WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your procedure:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Local anesthesia is a shot of medicine put into your skin to numb the area and dull the pain. You will also get medicine to keep you calm and relaxed. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure.
During your procedure:
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.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- You may have continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.
- You will need to lie flat and still for a few hours. You will start to walk 12 or 24 hours after your procedure. Do not get out of bed on your own until a healthcare provider says you can. Ask for help before you get up the first time. Someone may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let healthcare providers know you need help.
- Healthcare providers may keep track of what you drink and urinate. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Your urine may need to be collected and measured.
- Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevents vomiting.
- Antiplatelets, such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
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.
CARE AGREEMENT:You 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.
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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.