Coronary Angioplasty (PCI) Service

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) is very similar to Cardiac Catheterisation, but takes longer to perform. A balloon/stent is inserted into the coronary artery and the balloon is inflated, opening up the narrowed artery. The balloon is deflated and removed, leaving the stent, (if used), in place. The stent remains there permanently. More than one stent can be inserted if required. (PI 43)



If you are having a PCI, you may be given the option of having intravenous sedation. The sedation is given through a cannula (small plastic tube) placed in the vein. You will feel sleepy and relaxed following the sedation but you will not be unconscious (this is not a general anaesthetic).

If you have sedation

  • You must have someone to accompany you home and remain with you for 12 hours
  • You must not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours
  • You must not consume alcohol for 24 hours
  • You should not make any vital decisions or sign any legal documents for 24 hours
  • You should not take any medication not prescribed or acknowledged by your doctor



In recommending this procedure your doctor has balanced the benefits and risks of the procedure against the benefits and risks of not proceeding. Your doctor believes there is a overall benefit to you going ahead. This is a very complicated assessment. The risks are higher if you are having the procedure for a heart attack.


Common risks and complications (more than 5%) include:

  • Minor bruising at the puncture site.
  • Major bruising or swelling at the puncture site.
  • Chest discomfort during and post procedure.
  • Bleeding from access site.


Rare risks and complications (less than 1%) include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm that continues for a long time. This may need an electric shock to correct.
  • A heart attack.
  • Surgical repair of the groin/arm puncture site or blood vessel.
  • The stent may suddenly close within the first month. This can cause angina or heart attack. It may be treated with another angioplasty or with surgery.
  • Loss of pulse in the arm after a radial artery (arm) procedure.
  • Emergency heart surgery due to complications with the procedure.
  • A reaction to the drugs given to prevent blood clotting.
  • Minor reaction to the x-ray dye such as hives.
  • Loss of kidney function due to the side effects of the x-ray dye.
  • A stroke. This can cause long term disability.
  • An allergic reaction to the x-ray dye.
  • A higher lifetime risk from x-ray exposure.
  • Rupture of a blood vessel requiring surgical repair and blood transfusion.
  • Skin injury from radiation causing reddening of the skin.
  • Death as a result of this procedure is rare.
  • Infection at access site.
  • Major bleeding.





Available at the following locations:

  • Dublin

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