Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has taken an aggressive direction to help provide quality cardiac care for those in the region who are plagued with heart disease. PMC is now consistently among the state’s leading hospitals in both numbers and outcomes for heart and vascular procedures.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and Eastern Kentucky is one of the areas with the highest number of patients who struggle. However, many patients now can live longer, more productive lives due to advanced cardiac care available at PMC.

“One of the most important advancements in cardiac care has been angioplasty (treatment of blockages in the heart arteries),” said PMC Interventional Cardiologist and Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab, Muhammad Ahmad, MD. “Most of the time, successful treatment is achieved through a balloon procedure and placement of stents.”

He says as patients age and the disease progresses, these blockages can become very difficult to open. Sometimes a previously placed stent gets closed off and the patient starts having symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath.

“For these conditions, we have started providing patients with advanced techniques to open the blocked arteries which are heavily calcified. One such procedure is known as directional coronary atherectomy (DCA),” said Dr. Ahmad.

DCA is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove blockage from the arteries and allow more blood to flow to the heart muscle and ease the pain caused by blockages.

When arteries become too hard and unable to open by regular balloon stent, the interventional cardiologists also perform a procedure called rotablator (boring through hardened blocked arteries).

Dr. Ahmad added, “Another option is the use of laser (an acronym for light amplification by stimulated omission of radiation). This helps open the previously closed stent or heavily calcified arteries that cannot be opened by regular balloons in some patients.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 606-218-3500 or or visit Dr. Ahmad’s profile page.