Plaque is a build-up of cholesterol, fat, and calcium. Over time plaque narrows your arteries and potentially closes off blood flow to heart muscle causing a heart attack. Normally, the walls of your hollow, tube-shaped arteries are smooth and elastic.
Atherosclerosis occurs when the lining of your arteries deteriorate and thicken with plaque deposits and is commonly known as “hardening of the arteries” or coronary heart disease.
If your diagnostic angiogram suggests a blockage which is not easily fixed with a traditional balloon or stent procedure, you may be a candidate for an atherectomy procedure. This procedure scrapes plaque from the walls of your arteries. A special catheter with a rotating tip removes the plaque allowing blood flow more freely through your artery.
Your physician may consider the following factors before performing an atherectomy:
- The location or shape of plaque deposit;
- The size or anatomy of your arteries;
- Whether the plaque is exceptionally hard, or calcified; and
- Whether clots are present in the artery.