A coronary Angioplasty is a procedure used to widen blocked or narrowed coronary arteries (the main blood vessels supplying the heart.
Coronary angioplasty is sometimes known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). The combination of coronary angioplasty with stenting is usually referred to as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
In most cases, the blood flow through the coronary arteries improves after an angioplasty. Many people find their symptoms get significantly better and they’re able to do more than they could before the procedure.
If you've had a heart attack, an angioplasty can increase your chances of surviving more than clot-busting medication (thrombolysis). The procedure can also reduce your chances of having another heart attack in the future.
A coronary angioplasty is performed using local anesthesia , which means you'll be awake while the procedure is carried out.
A thin flexible tube called a catheter will be inserted into one of your arteries through an incision in your groin, wrist or arm. This is guided to the affected coronary artery using an X-Ray video.
When the catheter is in place, a thin wire is guided down the length of the affected coronary artery, delivering a small balloon to the affected section of artery. This is then inflated to widen the artery, squashing fatty deposits against the artery wall so blood can flow through it more freely when the deflated balloon is removed.
If a stent is being used, this will be around the balloon before it's inserted. The stent will expand when the balloon is inflated and remains in place when the balloon is deflated and removed.
A coronary angioplasty usually takes between 30 minutes and two hours. If you're being treated for angina, you'll normally be able to go home later the same day or the day after you have the procedure. You'll need to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous activities and driving for at least a week.
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