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5 Non-Surgical Interventional Procedures for Treating Coronary Blockages

If you have been diagnosed with a blocked coronary artery, you should know that non-surgical interventions are available. These include balloon angioplasty, two different kinds of stents, rotablation, and cutting balloon. Which one your healthcare provider recommends will depend on your individual situation. This eMedTV segment provides an overview of non-surgical treatment options for treating coronary blockages.

Are There Nonsurgical Options for Coronary Blockages?

If your doctor has informed you that you have a blocked artery, your first thought may be that of an emergency bypass surgery. But try not to jump to conclusions just yet. There may be other options -- including some that don't even involve surgery. How is this possible? We are going to take you through five nonsurgical interventional procedures for treating coronary blockages that very well may keep you off the operating table.

An "interventional" procedure is a nonsurgical treatment that is used to open coronary arteries that are narrow or blocked. By opening up these arteries, it helps improve blood flow to the heart. These interventional procedures can be done during a cardiac catheterization as soon as a blockage is identified, or they can be done at a later date if needed (see Cardiac Catheterization).

These five nonsurgical interventional options your doctor may recommend include:
  • Balloon angioplasty
  • Balloon angioplasty with stenting
  • Drug-eluting stent (DES)
  • Rotablation (percutaneous transluminal rotational atherectomy, or PTRA)
  • Cutting balloon.

An interventional procedure is done during a cardiac catheterization, which is why they’re also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCA). After the catheter is in place, one of the interventional procedures is done to open up the artery.

You may or may not have heard of these, so let's take a closer look at what's involved with each of them. Knowing what's involved with these procedures will help you know what to ask your doctor when trying to decide which treatment is best for you.

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