Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center


Heart failure can be caused by blockage in the coronary arteries, the arteries that supply the heart itself with oxygen-rich blood. Coronary angioplasty, also called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is a non-surgical procedure used to open these blocked arteries and restore normal blood flow to the heart.

Angioplasty is usually performed in the cardiac catheterization lab. Here is how it works:

  1. You may receive a mild sedative to relax you, but you will be awake during the procedure.
  2. Your doctor will numb the area where the catheter will be inserted—usually in the groin, but sometimes in the arm—with a local anesthetic and make a small hole with a needle.
  3. A small tube called a catheter with a tiny deflated balloon on the end is inserted through the hole and guided by X-ray to the diseased artery.
  4. The balloon is inflated to push the artery open.
  5. Once the artery has been fully opened, the balloon is deflated. A stent may be placed during the procedure to keep the artery open.

After your procedure, you will be moved to a special care unit, where you will stay for a few hours or overnight. You will be asked to lie still so that the site where the catheter was inserted can seal completely.

Before you go home, your medical team will give you specific instructions regarding medication, safe activity levels, and warning signs to look out for. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully and call your doctor's office with any questions you may have after you return home.

Learn more about treatments for heart failure:

For more information about heart failure treatment at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center or to make an appointment, please call us at 713-DEBAKEY (713-332-2539) or complete our online contact us form.