Rotational Atherectomy

A rotational atherectomy is a type of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) that uses a revolving instrument to break up calcified plaque clogging a coronary artery in order to restore blood flow to the heart. Mount Sinai's Cath Lab team is renowned for performing this complex procedure, which accounts for approximately 9 percent of our angioplasty referrals. Additionally, we manage the highest volume of rotational atherectomy in the country and are widely recognized for our successful outcomes with rotational atherectomy.

rotational atherectomy

About the Procedure

Used for tough blockages, a rotational atherectomy involves navigating a catheter fitted with a Rotablator device through the site of the blockage, where it rotates at a speed of up to 140,000-150,000 rpm, gently pulverizing the blockage into tiny particles that can pass safely through the bloodstream.

A rotational atherectomy is sometimes performed with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD or IABP), which provides cardiac support in order to give the physician time to perform the procedure as planned. Rotational atherectomies are usually combined with the placement of stents.

The patient, who is only locally anesthetized, experiences the procedure as something akin to having a tooth drilled. Within a very short period of time (approximately five minutes), the patient has an improved blood flow and heart function.