An atherectomy cuts away the plaque responsible for blocking or narrowing an artery. Your doctor can use a few different devices depending on the location and severity of the blockage.

Directional atherectomy uses a catheter with a small, mechanically driven cutter that shaves the plaque and stores it in a collection chamber. This device is effective in large arteries with soft blockages.

Extraction atherectomy uses a special catheter, called a transluminal extraction catheter (TEC), which has a rotating cutter. The device removes plaque particles through a vacuum suction system while it cuts.

Rotational atherectomy uses a high-speed rotating diamond chip burr, called a Rotablator®, which mashes plaque into very small particles. These particles can usually pass harmlessly through the coronary arteries. This device works best on hardened calcified blockages.

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7503 Surratts Road
Clinton, Maryland 20735
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Phone: 301-877-4367

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center partners with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a national leader in research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.