Atherectomy Complications and Immediate Surgery
In about 5 in 100 procedures, a coronary artery bypass (open heart surgery) is required due to complications of atherectomy. Although this is an infrequent occurrence, you should be prepared for this life-saving intervention.
If your heart cannot pump enough blood during the atherectomy, an intra-aortic balloon pump may be inserted through a blood vessel in your leg to assist your heart. This technique can save your life, but it is associated with an increased risk for infection, bleeding, and blood clots in the leg.
Your doctor may insert a small pacing wire into the heart to maintain a steady heart rate before, during, or after the atherectomy. This rarely causes complications. There is a slightly higher risk of infection and perforation (tear) of the heart with this device, but it is commonly used and essential in certain types of heart surgery.