Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) refers to a family of minimally invasive procedures used to open clogged coronary arteries (those that deliver blood to the heart). By restoring blood flow, the treatment can improve symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. UCSF interventional cardiologists, who are highly skilled and experienced in using the latest techniques and devices, are able to use PCIs to fix the most complex coronary artery blockages, even chronic total occlusions.

In a PCI, the doctor reaches a blocked vessel by making a small incision in the wrist or upper leg and then threading a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) through an artery that leads to the heart. The doctor uses X-ray images of the heart as a guide to locate the blockage or narrowed area, and then uses the most appropriate PCI techniques to open the vessel.