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Angioplasty (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention)

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) — also known as an angioplasty procedure — is a routine surgery to check coronary arteries for fatty plaque buildups that might cause chest pain or put you at risk for a heart attack.

What to Expect During Your PCI/Angioplasty Procedure

Your cardiac surgeon from the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute will perform PCI by using a long tube, called a catheter.

He or she will:

  • Insert the catheter through an artery in your arm or leg.
  • Use an x-ray camera, attached to the catheter, to look at the flow of blood through those vessels and remove arterial blockages.
  • Place a coronary stent, in many cases, in the artery to keep it open and keep the blood flowing.

What is a coronary stent?

A coronary stent is a tube placed in person’s arteries in order to help improve blood flow by stabilizing the arterial walls. Surgeons often use stenting during angioplasty procedures (PCI).

Same-Day Discharge for PCI

While typical PCI patients are kept overnight for monitoring, at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, 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 PCI.

Following a strict set of standards, we check whether you are at low risk to start with. If so, we monitor you after PCI and — in some cases — we can discharge you within hours after the procedure. 

Some benefits of same-day discharge include:

  • More comfortable recovery.
  • Same-day pharmacy program so you have all your medicine before you leave the hospital.

For the safety of eligible same-day discharge patients, we provide an on-call phone number that we answer 24 hours a day. We encourage patients to call should they have any questions.

We follow up with patients 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.

Learn More About Angioplasty

Emmi ™ Patient Education Videos:

“...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, Cardiologist at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute​

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