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Two words that describe two different procedures can intimidate some of our patients.

Don’t worry because an atherectomy and a thrombectomy are common procedures that describe removing a blot clot from a vein or artery, as well as from a vital organ. The two procedures reach the same ends, but the means to the ends are quite different.


A blood clot can start as a small invasion within a vein, an organ, or an artery. You might feel pain, tingling, numbness, and/or swelling in one or both arms and legs. What starts out as a slight muscle pain can quickly morph into debilitating pain that requires immediate medical attention. You might experience a cold feeling in and around the area of the blood clot. Tissue begins to die and eventually, untreated blood clots can lead to losing the function of one or more organs. Once a blood clot moves into one or both of the lungs, patients require emergency care to prevent death.


An atherectomy represents a non-invasive procedure, with the primary goal to open partially blocked veins and arteries. Dr. Chadda uses a device secured on the end of a catheter to cut or shave off atherosclerotic plaque and other harmful substances collecting within the lining of an artery wall. The goal for performing an atherectomy is to increase blood flow to and from the heart. Lack of blood flow limits the oxygen necessary for other organs to function properly. We typically perform an atherectomy after we have attempted to increase oxygenated blood flow by performing every medical therapy we know.


We perform three types of atherectomy procedures: directional, rotational, and transluminal extraction. As the first type of atherectomy the federal government approved, directional means scraping plaque into an opening located on one side of the catheter. We don’t use directional scraping as much as we did when the procedure was the only type of atherectomy approved. For a rotational atherectomy, Dr. Chadda and his skilled team of cardiovascular experts use a high-speed rotary shaver to grind plaque into microscopic pieces. Cutting is the method used by our team for executing a transluminal extraction.


Unlike an atherectomy, a thrombectomy is a procedure to remove medium to large size blood clots from a vein, an artery, or an organ. During the minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Chadda removes the entire blood clot to prevent redevelopment. After removing a blood clot, Dr. Chadda and his team of skilled surgeons quickly close the incision.

Sometimes, we need to place a stent or balloon within an artery or vein to ensure blood flows uninhibited to and from the heart.


For every atherectomy and thrombectomy, Dr. Chadda and his team of cardiovascular specialists will recommend medications to get you ready for either heart procedure. We strongly urge our patients to tell us about any recent health changes, such as the onset of a fever or upset stomach. You should also let us know about any allergies you have to medications and if you have problems with anesthesia. We will want to know whether any of our female patients undergoing either heart procedure is pregnant. You can expect Dr. Chadda and his highly rated team to conduct several tests, including an ultrasound or CT scan. Abstain from eating and drinking after midnight, if Dr. Chadda has scheduled your either procedure for the next morning.


During Thrombectomy surgery, we will put an IV into your arm. Medicine required for the surgery moves through the IV into a vein. You might require the administration of a blood thinner like heparin to prevent blood clotting during surgery. An anesthetic will also move through the IV to relax you and prevent pain from becoming an issue. We will remove any hair located at the area of the planned incision and we will apply a local anesthetic to numb the incision area.

Dr. Chadda or one of his accomplished surgeons will make a cut just above where the blood clot is located. With precision, the surgeon will remove the blood clot and then insert a stent or balloon if the blood vessel appears to need help staying wide open. The surgeon quickly closes the blood vessel and the skin where the incision was made.

Experience matters for performing an atherectomy or a thrombectomy. When you turn to Dr. Chadda and his team of cardiovascular specialists, you turn to a team of experienced professionals who have an exceptional record of minimizing the risks associated with either procedure.

Contact our clinic to learn more about how we utilize an atherectomy or a thrombectomy and how we efficiently remove blood clots to restore your health.