Holland Hospital is one of a select number of hospitals in Michigan that is approved and certified by the state to perform emergency Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), a life-saving emergency treatment for heart attacks. There is growing evidence to show that every minute hospitals can shave
off "door to balloon" time lowers a patient's risk of death and serious
damage to the heart muscle. The median treatment time at Holland Hospital is around half the goal set by the American College of Cardiology.
What is PCI?
PCI is a procedure that unblocks narrowed coronary arteries without performing surgery. It is also known as “emergency angioplasty” because it is often performed when a heart attack is first diagnosed and immediate treatment is required.
How does it work?
PCI may involve the use of a cardiac catheter with a balloon, a stent, blood clot removal, plaque removal or some combination. During the procedure, the catheter with a small balloon attached is inserted into the coronary artery. The balloon is then expanded at the narrowed part of the artery to push the blockage out of the way and restore adequate blood flow. In some cases, a stent (a hollow mesh tube) may also be placed in the artery to prevent constriction following the procedure.
What are the benefits?
PCI saves lives. When a heart attack occurs, every minute counts. If blood flow is restored quickly, less damage is done to the heart muscle and fewer complications result. You may require an overnight hospital stay, but most patients experience a rapid recovery.
When appropriate, Holland Hospital may also use a catheter with a rotating blade that shaves off and collects plaque from vessel walls to improve blood flow. This advanced procedure also treats Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD).
Prior to PCI, a mild sedative will be used to reduce anxiety, promote sleep and slow down the activity of your heart. This will also provide pain management during and immediately following your procedure.
After your treatment, a large bandage will cover the incision site for about a day. You can expect to be up and walking within 12 to 24 hours and home from the hospital in 1 to 2 days. You may resume exercise and driving in just under a week with your doctor's permission.
After PCI, you will probably take aspirin plus a blood thinning medication to help prevent another heart attack or possibly a stroke for at least one year. You will likely take daily aspirin long-term.