How to Avoid Potential Complications from PCI

avoid PCI complicationsPercutaneous coronary intervention—or PCI—and Protected PCI™ are nonsurgical procedures for people with blocked coronary arteries. The purpose of both procedures is to open up narrowed arteries and improve blood flow to the heart. PCI is recommended for people who otherwise have a healthy heart.

Protected PCI is recommended for patients with stable blood flow and a combination of severe coronary artery disease, a low ejection fraction, and other conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, advanced age, peripheral vascular disease, complex lesions, history of angina, or prior surgeries. Protected PCI is a PCI procedure performed with extra support from a heart pump. The heart pump such as Impella 2.5® helps maintain heart function, blood pressure, and blood flow, while the blockages in one or more arteries are repaired. Read more

Fish Oil Protects the Heart After PCI

blood flow and blocked arteriesPercutaneous coronary intervention or PCI is a procedure that opens narrowed or blocked arteries. Some patients with severe coronary artery disease and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction may be candidates for Protected PCI, a PCI procedure using a miniature heart pump called the Impella 2.5.

A study found that people who were given omega-3 fatty acids 12 hours before their PCI procedure had lower levels of a heart biomarker after the PCI procedure. The only difference between the two groups was the addition of the 600 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 1200 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in a single fish oil pill. DHA and EPA are the primary omega-3 fatty acids needed for the body to function—especially for the immune system and the brain. Read more

Lifestyle Changes After PCI and Protected PCI™

Protected PCI and Senior man with bicycleMr. Barrett had a Protected PCI™ procedure. After his follow-up stress test, his cardiologist recommended he stop smoking, change his diet and exercise more. Mr. Barrett would like to do all he can to prevent future heart problems. Here is some helpful information:


There are many chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke that can damage your heart and blood vessels. The chemical, nicotine, is known to affect your heart and blood vessels by increasing your blood pressure, heart rate, and your risk of blood clots; decreasing the amount of oxygen flowing to your heart, and changing the structure and function of your blood vessels. When you stop smoking the damage to your heart and blood vessels may reverse and your risk of heart disease drops. Read more

Are Protected PCI™ Procedures Minimally Invasive?

Minimally invasive procedures are defined as medical procedures that use small incisions and cause minimal damage to body tissue by both the American Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery and Random House Dictionary.

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Protected PCI Provides a New Treatment Option and Hope for Certain Heart Disease Patients

Access to the widest range of possible treatments is of critical importance for patients with heart disease. When the arteries leading to the heart become blocked or narrowed, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), otherwise known as heart surgery, can be an effective treatment option. However, some patients with low heart function and other medical problems are not appropriate candidates for heart surgery. There is also a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which can be performed in the cardiac catheterization lab to open narrowed or blocked arteries by performing balloon angioplasty to break away the plaque on the wall of the artery, or by placing a stent, which can open the narrowed artery. Patients who are also not candidates for this conventional PCI procedure may have no other viable options to help improve their heart disease symptoms.

Now, there is hope. A new procedure called Protected PCI is made possible through the support of a miniature heart pump called the Impella 2.5. The heart pump, which recently received FDA approval for elective and urgent high risk PCI procedures in hemodynamically stable patients with severe coronary artery disease and depressed left ventricular ejection fraction, has been shown to maintain stable heart function during the procedure, giving interventional cardiologists the opportunity to work on advanced heart disease patients who might otherwise, have no options.

The Impella 2.5 is so small that it does not require surgery. It is placed in the heart through a small hole in the leg and assists the heart, and allows it to the rest by pumping up to two-and-a-half liters of blood per minute while a PCI procedure is performed to open narrowed or blocked arteries. In a press release about the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the Impella 2.5, the FDA reports that the temporary circulatory support provided by the Impella 2.5 may allow physicians to perform a more thorough procedure by maintaining heart function. This can reduce the risk of certain additional medical problems during and after the procedure, lead to an improved quality of life, less days in the hospital and less repeat procedures in the future. Read more

Welcome to the Protected PCI “Living with Advanced Heart Disease” Blog

Welcome to the Protected PCI “Living with Advanced Heart Disease” blog, a place where patients can learn about their heart disease in simple, easy-to-understand language. Brought to you by Abiomed—a world leader in medical technologies designed to assist or replace the failing heart—this Protected PCI blog is for everyone: patients, caretakers, family, friends, and anyone interested in learning about heart disease. Our blog posts will include facts about coronary artery disease and heart failure together with symptoms and current treatments for these diseases.

We created the Protected PCI blog because we wanted an opportunity to help you understand your heart disease by explaining common medical terminology, procedures, and practices with you. We hope to engage with you by sharing news and information about the latest breakthroughs in heart research.

We’ll examine how the heart works, common terminology your cardiologist might use to describe complex heart disease and heart failure including explanations of tests and procedures currently used to determine your heart’s health. We’ll look at the latest therapies available to improve heart function and keep track of new advances in heart research including the management and treatment of heart disease, advanced heart failure, and coronary artery disease. We hope this information will improve your quality of life with your heart disease, and we’re excited to share our knowledge of the heart with you. Protected PCI is not right for everyone. Nothing in this blog is designed to replace the recommendations and information you receive about your condition from your physician or cardiologist, which are varied and can involve more than just Protected PCI. Your physician should always be your first stop for advice about health and treatment options.

The bottom line is that we created this blog to share and discuss topics that are important to our readers. Subscribe Now to join our community and stay in the loop whenever new content is published.

As discussed throughout this site, a Protected PCI is a cardiac intervention during which the heart is hemodynamically supported by the Impella® 2.5. The Impella 2.5 is the World’s Smallest Heart Pump and is intended for temporary use (<6 hours) to maintain stable heart function and potentially lower certain risks in patients with severe coronary disease and diminished (but stable) heart function who are undergoing a percutaneous coronary intervention such as an angioplasty or stenting, but who are not candidates for surgical coronary bypass treatment.

The Impella 2.5 system is a temporary (<6 hours) ventricular support device indicated for use during high risk percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) performed in elective or urgent, hemodynamically stable patients with severe coronary artery disease and depressed left ventricular ejection fraction, when a heart team, including a cardiac surgeon, has determined high risk PCI is the appropriate therapeutic option. Use of the Impella 2.5 in these patients may prevent hemodynamic instability which can result from repeat episodes of reversible myocardial ischemia that occur during planned temporary coronary occlusions and may reduce peri- and post-procedural adverse events.

Protected PCI [or Impella 2.5, CP, etc.] is not right for everyone.  You may not be able to be treated with Impella if you have certain pre-existing conditions, which a cardiologist will determine, such as:  severe narrowing of the heart valve, severe peripheral artery disease, clots in your blood vessels, or a replacement heart valve or certain heart valve deficiencies.  Additionally, use of Impella has been associated with risks, including, but not limited to valvular and vascular injury, bleeding, and limb ischemia in certain patients.  Learn more about the Impella devices’ approved indications for use, as well as important safety and risk information at