Complex PCI

The Heart & Vascular Institute specializes in complex percutaneous coronary intervention cases, a nonsurgical procedure once known as angioplasty with stent. The institute's coronary artery total occlusions program – treating arteries that have been completely occluded for an extended period – is New England’s largest.

In this procedure, doctors insert a small device called a stent through a catheter to open blood vessels in the heart blocked by a buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis). This technique pushes plaque to the vessels’ walls. Alternatively, an atherectomy uses a device to cut plaque from the walls.

The Heart & Vascular Difference: At Hartford Hospital alone, doctors perform 1,300 of these procedures in a typical year – making the Heart & Vascular Institute one of the leaders in the Northeast. 

Our doctors use these advanced techniques, not typically available collectively at other cath labs:

Orbital atherectomy: Pulverizes heavily calcified or thickened lesions.

Rotational atherectomy: Shaves off plaque with a rotating burr or drill placed on the tip of a catheter.

Laser atherectomy: High-energy light, administered via a catheter, that destroys plaque and unblocks the artery.

Bifurcation stenting: A more complex case with blockages of side-branch vessels – like a tree, vessels emerge from main coronary artery – because stents are not available in an interlocking “Y” shape.

Ostial Flash balloon deployment of ostial stents: A dual-balloon treatment for ostial disease (coronary ostial stenosis is the blockage of the ostium, just above the aortic valve).

Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR): A procedure using a wire guided through a coronary artery that measures blood pressure and flow.

Intravascular ultrasound: A diagnostic imaging test via catheter with a miniature ultrasound probe at its tip.


Our Complex PCI Locations: