Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that might be recommended for people with blocked coronary arteries. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on this procedure.
Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is a procedure that is used for opening blocked coronary arteries, which are the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. These blood vessels can become hard or constricted due to the buildup of plaque in the arterial walls. This leads to reduced supply of blood to the heart muscle, which could give rise to chest pain, heart attacks, or heart failure.
During PTCA, the blocked coronary artery is opened up. The objective of this procedure is to allow the blood to flow unobstructed. It is called percutaneous, as the blocked blood vessel is accessed through the skin. It is called transluminal coronary angioplasty as an inflatable catheter is passed along the lumen of a coronary artery for restoring the blood flow. The blood flow is restored by widening and removing the plaque.
During the procedure, the doctor injects local anesthesia into the groin. Then a needle is placed into the femoral artery that runs down the leg. Using this needle, a guide wire is placed into the artery and the needle is removed. An introducer (plastic tube through which the catheter would be inserted into the blood vessel and advanced into the heart) is placed over the guide wire and the wire is removed. A different sized guide wire is put in its place. A diagnostic catheter is moved through the introducer, over the guide wire, and into the blood vessel. The catheter is then guided into the aorta. Once the catheter is placed in the opening of one of the coronary arteries, the guide wire is removed.
Now, a dye is injected into the coronary artery, so that an X-ray can be taken. This helps the doctor locate the blockage in the arteries. If the doctor feels that the blockage is treatable, a guiding catheter is inserted in place of the first catheter. The balloon catheter is advanced into the blockage site and inflated. This helps compress the blockage. The balloon is inflated several times to help widen the passage. This procedure is carried out at various other sites of blockage. Then a stent is placed to keep the coronary artery open. A collapsed stent is advanced to the blocked site and inflated. A contrast media dye is injected and an X-ray taken. This helps the doctor see, if there is no blockage remaining. The procedure ends with the removal of the catheter. PTCA requires a 24 hour hospitalization period. After being discharged, the patient might be called for regular checkups.
The complications of this procedure include infection or bleeding at the site where the catheter is inserted. Sometimes, patients develop allergic reactions to the dye. In some cases, a blood clot might be formed, or the blood vessel might get damaged at the insertion site. Cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac dysrhythmias may occur. Some patients might suffer from chest pain and discomfort. If the coronary artery ruptures, the patient may have to undergo an open heart surgery.
It must be noted that this procedure cannot cure coronary heart diseases. There’s a possibility of the patient developing a blockage again, even after undergoing this procedure.