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Atherectomy is another procedure that relieves symptoms of coronary artery disease by improving blood flow to the heart by treating blockages in the arteries that feed the heart. An atherectomy catheter removes the cholesterol build up from inside the heart by cutting, grinding or aspirating the cholesterol build-up from the body. The procedure is performed in the same way as balloon angioplasty. The only difference is the mechanism from which the artery is opened and the blood flow is improved.

Rotational Atherectomy

Rotational atherectomy is the use of a high speed drill that ablates or grinds up the cholesterol inside the artery to very fine particles which pass uneventfully down stream from the blockage. The drill spins at between 160,000 and 200,000 revolutions per minute. The tip of the drill is impregnated with industrial diamonds which form a very hard and sharp cutting surface. The procedure is ideally suited for patients that have very hard cholesterol deposits and especially those that have calcium. Like other catheter based procedures, the risk and success rates are similar with success rates between 90-95% and reoccurrence rates between 30-40%. The risk of emergency bypass surgery is again 1-3% with the risk of death of less than 1%. We found rotational atherectomy is a very good procedure for re-narrowed Stents as well as arteries that have heavy calcification which is very common in more elderly patients. If further information is required about rotational atherectomy, please contact our website and we would be happy to send you a brochure.


Transluminal Extraction Atherectomy: The TEC-atherectomy procedure is one that is ideally suited for blockages that have blood clot and blockages that occur in old bypass grafts. This procedure allows the plaque to be cut up and aspirated. This prevents any particle from going down stream in the blood vessel involved or the bypass graft involved and thus minimizing the risk of heart attack during the procedure. This procedure has evolved primarily for the treatment of previous bypass grafts from coronary artery bypass surgery and less commonly in the treatment of myocardial infarction. The risks and benefits are the same as in other catheter based intervention and if further information is required on TEC-Atherectomy, please contact our website.

Directional Atherectomy

Directional atherectomy was the first atherectomy procedure that was approved by the federal government. This is a shaving procedure that collects the cholesterol build up inside the cutting chamber which allows its removal from the body. This prevents any particles from going down stream and therefore minimizes the risk of heart attack. Directional atherectomy is an ideal procedure for patients that have big arteries with somewhat asymmetric cholesterol build up. It has also been used in patients that have cholesterol build up at a branch point in their arteries. Like all atherectomy procedures, directional atherectomy has the same risks of heart attack, death and recurrence in the first 3-6 months. It is again a very successful procedure with success rates in the 90-95% range. If further information about directional atherectomy is required, please contact our website.