What is Protected PCI?
For some patients, their doctors may determine their heart disease is too severe for stenting and too high-risk for surgery.
For these patients, protected percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), or protected stenting, may be an option. During a Protected PCI procedure, Impella® heart pumps temporarily assist the pumping function of the heart during stent placement to ensure blood flow is maintained to critical organs. A Protected PCI is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure performed in a catheterization lab (cath lab) by an interventional cardiologist.
How Protected PCI Works
The Impella heart pump is inserted through a small incision and advanced through the arteries into the heart. Impella pulls blood from the left ventricle and releases it into the aorta, providing pumping support. This active ‘unloading’ of the left ventricle increases blood flow to vital organs. When support is no longer needed, your cardiologist will remove Impella before you leave the hospital.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
While the PCI procedure is appropriate for some patients with heart disease, a surgical procedure called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) may be recommended for others, depending on the patient’s medical condition. The CABG procedure reroutes blood around the blocked coronary artery. During the CABG procedure, the surgeon takes a blood vessel from the leg or arm and attaches this open blood vessel to the coronary artery before and after the blockage. Blood is then routed through the new blood vessel and around the blockage, bypassing it. Upon completion of the surgical procedure, all incisions are closed with stitches.
The goals of both the CABG and PCI procedures are the same—to restore blood flow to the heart and improve the quality of life for patients with coronary artery disease. PCI is minimally invasive. CABG is an open-heart surgical procedure that requires the heart to be exposed for surgical repair.