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​Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (Angioplasty)

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), also known as an angioplasty procedure, is a routine surgery where catheters are used to check coronary arteries for fatty plaque buildups that might cause chest pain or put a patient at risk for a heart attack.

PCI is performed by inserting a catheter through an artery in the arm or leg, and then using an x-ray camera, attached to the catheter, in order to look at the flow of blood through those vessels and remove arterial blockages. In many cases, a coronary stent is placed in the artery to keep it open and keep the blood flowing.

Same-day discharge for PCI

While typical PCI patients are kept overnight for monitoring, at UPMC, we understand that people recover most comfortably in their own homes. We now offer some patients the opportunity to go home the same day after a PCI.

Following a strict set of standards, we check whether the patient is at low risk to start with. If so, we monitor them after the procedure and in some cases, we can discharge them hours after their procedure. Some benefits of same-day discharge include:

  • More comfortable recovery
  • Same-day pharmacy program so patients have all their medicine at discharge

For the safety of these eligible patents, we provide an on-call phone number that is answered 24 hours a day and encourage patients to call should they have any questions. We follow up with the patient 24 hours post-procedure in order to check on their results.  Patients are free to return to non-physical labor 24 hours post-treatment and physical labor 48 hours post-treatment.

To find out if you are a candidate for same-day PCI discharge, please talk to your doctor.

What is a coronary stent?

A coronary stent is a tube placed in patient’s arteries in order to help improve by stabilizing the arterial walls. It is used in angioplasty procedures (percutaneous coronary intervention).


“...Our goal is to make sure that your experience is comfortable, pleasant and gets you to the point where you want to be, having a high quality of life and going home as quickly as is reasonably possible.  And in the ideal situation, that’s the same-day discharge where we know that you’ll do as well at home as you would do in the hospital.”
Dr. Conrad Smith

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