Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) includes the use of angioplasty and atherectomy to reduce the stenosis that can occur with coronary artery disease. It also includes the stents that are usually delivered to the lesions that are being treated. According to data provided by Medicare, over 94% of the patients undergoing a PCI will have at least one stent, and according to iDataResearch, the number of stents per procedure was 1.29 in 2018. This has risen from 84% receiving a stent in FY 2011.
The previous issue of Spotlight (February 2019) focused on the coronary stents which are used in these procedures. This issue deals with the balloon angioplasty and atherectomy devices used to dilate lesions or remove plaque and/or calcification blocking the arteries. Atherectomy removes plaque or calcifications with either an excimer laser, or a device that sands or cuts the barriers. Although the latter devices are less frequently used, they are more expensive and are generally reserved for more challenging clinical cases.