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

How Does the World’s Smallest Heart Pump Work During Protected PCI?

Watch this brief animated video to discover how the world’s smallest heart pump does its job during Protected PCI procedures.


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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PCI vs. Protected PCI: What is the Difference and Which One is Right for Me?

PCI vs. Protected PCI What is the Difference and Which One is Right for MeFirst Visit

Mr. Marx failed pre-operative screening for his gall bladder operation and was referred to a cardiologist for additional testing. He learned he had 3 blocked coronary arteries, which are blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood. The cardiologist suggested he might be a candidate for percutaneous coronary intervention. The doctor explained this procedure, but Mr. Marx was too upset to understand what this actually means.

Let’s explain:

Percutaneous coronary intervention—or PCI—is a nonsurgical procedure performed in the catheterization lab (cath lab) by an interventional cardiologist. The purpose of the procedure is to open up narrowed arteries using either a stent and/or balloon angioplasty.

During a balloon angioplasty, the interventional cardiologist uses a long, thin tube called a catheter that has a small balloon on its tip. The catheter is threaded through an artery in the leg which leads directly to the heart. Once in place, the balloon is inflated at the blockage site in the artery to flatten or compress the plaque against the artery wall.

During a stent procedure, a catheter is also inserted the same way by an interventional cardiologist. A stent is a small, mesh-like device. When a stent is placed inside of a coronary artery, it acts as a support or scaffold, keeping the vessel open. By keeping the vessel open, the stent helps to improve blood flow to the heart muscle. Stent procedures are usually used along with balloon angioplasty.

PCI is recommended for people with blocked coronary arteries who otherwise have a healthy heart. Read more

What is Ejection Fraction and What Does it Tell You About Your Heart?

Before her cardiology appointment, Mrs. Elliott had an echocardiogram, or ultrasound, of her heart. This was not unusual, as she has an echocardiogram each year before her annual cardiology appointment. During Mrs. Elliott’s subsequent visit to the cardiologist she learned she had a low ejection fraction. She understands that this is related to her being out of breath when she walks from her bedroom to her kitchen, but she doesn’t understand what it actually means.

Let’s explain:

The heart is a muscle that provides the force for your blood to circulate around your entire body. The heart has four chambers. The two upper, smaller chambers are called the right and left atria (singular: atrium). Beneath the atria, the two larger chambers are called the right and left ventricles. Blood from your body comes into the right atria and is pumped through the right ventricle and through your lungs. Blood returning from your lungs enters the left side of the heart. Blood from the left ventricle flows through your aorta, and is distributed throughout your body via your blood vessels. 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