Because results can vary from person to person, you should make sure that your atherectomy expectations match your doctor's. Over 90 percent of angioplasty surgeries are successful, and it's reasonable to expect your artery to stay open. However, because there is a possibility of the artery reclosing, having realistic atherectomy expectations can help when considering this procedure.
What Are Common Atherectomy Expectations?
After an atherectomy, you can expect that your doctor will have valuable information about your coronary arteries, valves, your heart's pumping ability, and the condition of your heart muscle.
If your doctor discovers that you have blocked arteries and proceeds with a balloon angioplasty, you can expect that your treated arteries will be expanded. This should improve blood and oxygen flow to your heart muscle. More than 90 out of 100 procedures are considered successful. Benefits you may obtain often include a significant relief from chest pain and a decrease in the need for heart medication.
If your doctor also inserts a stent during the procedure, in most cases, you can expect that your expanded artery will remain open longer than with an atherectomy alone. However, there is no guarantee how long any artery will stay open despite the use of an atherectomy or a stent.
In fact, the rate of artery reclosure with atherectomy alone is approximately 10 to 30 out of 100 procedures occurring within six months. With stenting, this drops to 1 to 20 out of 100 procedures within six months.
Reclosure usually occurs slowly, weeks or even months after an atherectomy. This is because new plaque deposits may form or your artery may narrow during the healing process. If your artery does not reclose within six months after your atherectomy, it usually stays open. Depending on your condition and symptoms, reclosure can be treated with drugs or with a second procedure. About 25 out of 100 patients undergo a repeat procedure because of reclosure. Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is often recommended for patients who cannot be treated with a repeat atherectomy or by drugs alone.
If you have any questions after reading this article, you and your doctor can discuss the expected results in your particular situation. It is important to make sure that your atherectomy expectations match those of your doctor.