Percutaneous coronary heart catheterization and interventions (balloon dilatation and stent implantation)

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) was developed by Andreas Grüntzig in 1977 at the University Hospital Zurich, where it was first used. Since then, catheter treatment of coronary artery disease has made enormous progress, especially through the development of vascular stents. In our Andreas-Grüntzig cardiac catheterization laboratories, we treat more than 3,000 patients annually. Before, during and after the cardiac catheterization, you will be cared for at all times by a specially trained cadre physician.


In most cases, you will be referred by your doctor for a cardiac catheterization and, if necessary, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or stenting because your symptoms may indicate a narrowing of the coronary arteries. If deposits have formed in your coronary arteries, leading to narrowing, they can reduce blood flow to the heart muscle and therefore cause symptoms such as chest tightness and shortness of breath. In this case, balloon dilation (PTCA) and stent placement can be used to treat the narrowing in a minimally invasive way.

Before, during and after the intervention, you will be supervised by a cadre physician. You will be continuously informed about the results of the examination and the individualized therapy proposal.


The intervention (PTCA and stenting) is performed with the patient fully conscious. Local anesthesia is only necessary at the small puncture site. If you are nervous or should have any discomfort, then we can give you a medicine to calm you down or for the pain. After a local anesthetic at the wrist or groin, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is advanced through the aorta to the heart. Under X-ray control, a few milliliters of contrast medium are used to visualize your coronary arteries. If there are narrowings or occlusions, an inflatable balloon at the tip of the catheter is first used to dilate the vessel (balloon dilatation). After dilatation, a tubular metal mesh (stent) is also implanted in this site so that the previously narrowed site remains permanently open. The stent remains in the coronary vessel for life and grows into the vessel within a few weeks to months.

Until the stent has grown into the coronary artery, you will be given two blood-thinning medications to prevent clots from forming in the area of the stent and thus blocking the coronary artery.  After the procedure, a pressure dressing will be applied over the puncture site and you will need to lie still for a few hours. In most cases, you will be able to leave the hospital the same evening or the following day.

Occasionally, stent placement is not immediate and your case will be discussed by our heart team to define the most appropriate therapy for you. Of course, factors such as age, concomitant diseases and patient preference also play an important role. After the heart team discussion, you will be informed about our individualized therapy proposal and can give it some thought.

Physicians in our team performing an intervention (PTCA and stenting)

For patients

You can either register yourself or be referred by your primary care physician, specialist.

Tel. +41 44 255 15 15

For referrals

University Hospital Zurich
Universitäres Herzzentrum Zürich
Rämistrasse 100
8091 Zürich

Tel. +41 44 255 15 15
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