Atherectomy I Plaque Removal | MedStar Heath

Regional experts in the removal of plaque from the arteries

This is a minimally invasive procedure we use to open arteries blocked with plaque, which is made up of cholesterol, calcium, and fatty substances.

The experts in our Interventional Cardiology Program staff cardiac catheterization labs 24/7, meaning you can get treatment close to home at any time. We’re one of the region’s highest-volume centers for atherectomy, and we continually research and develop new techniques in plaque removal.

This procedure may be performed on its own or before an angioplasty, in which a balloon is inflated in the artery to reopen it. Your doctor also may place a stent to help keep the artery open.

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Procedure

This procedure is done in the hospital. We’ll give you medicines to help you relax, but you’ll be awake during the procedure. Depending on which of your arteries is blocked, your doctor will make a small incision in a blood vessel in your arm or groin and insert a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter will have a cutting tool attached to it.

Your doctor will thread the catheter to the blocked artery and use the cutting tool to remove or destroy the blockage. The procedure takes about 1 hour, and you’ll likely need to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. You should be able to resume your normal activities, including exercise and driving, after a few days.

Conditions

Peripheral Artery disease (PAD)

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when blood flow to the arms and legs is reduced due to narrowed or blocked arteries.

Tests

Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Arterial Duplex Ultrasound for Arms and Legs

Arterial duplex ultrasound uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to assess blood flow in the arteries of your arms and legs.

Our locations

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MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

Read our Cardiovascular Performance & Outcomes Booklet

Ask MHVI

Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.