Angioplasty is a procedure that is performed for widening the arteries that become constricted due to plaque deposits. The following HealthHearty article provides information on this procedure.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to various parts of the body. Atherosclerosis is a medical condition wherein the arteries become hard and constricted due to the accumulation of plaque deposits in the arterial walls. Problems arise when the blood supply becomes restricted due to narrowing of the arteries. For instance, blockage of coronary arteries (arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart) gives rise to chest pain (angina) and various distressing symptoms.
Angioplasty is a surgical procedure that is recommended when drug therapy doesn’t help in improving the blood flow. It was Dr. Charles T. Dotter, who introduced the concept of transluminal angioplasty in 1960s. The first peripheral balloon coronary angioplasty was performed by Dr. Andreas Gruentzig in 1977.
This is a percutaneous surgery intervention (PCI) that helps in restoring the blood flow to the heart in case of coronary artery disease. This surgery is also known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).
- The patient is administered local anesthesia so that he/she doesn’t feel pain during the procedure.
- To locate the blockage, a catheter is inserted into an artery, usually in the groin before it is threaded to the coronary arteries. A special dye that can be seen on X-rays is injected into the coronary arteries. This helps the doctors determine the site of blockage within the artery.
- An empty balloon catheter is inserted within the blocked artery. It is guided into the aorta with the help of the guide wire.
- When the catheter is inflated, it compresses the plaque in the arterial walls, thereby creating more space for the blood to flow.
- The balloon is deflated and removed. In some cases, a collapsed stent or a tiny mesh tube is inserted so that the artery remains open. The stent helps in preventing closure of an artery.
- A contrast dye is inserted again and any remaining blockages are checked.
The Risks Involved
The risks associated with this procedure include bleeding at the site of the catheter insertion or damage to the blood vessel. In some cases, blood clots might form within the stent. In rare cases, the patient might suffer from cardiac arrhythmia or dysrhythmia, stroke, or heart attack.
As we already know, angioplasty is a procedure that helps in widening blocked arteries in the body. Other common uses include:
- Opening up of aorta and its branches
- Widening blocked arteries in the legs and arms
- Widening the arteries in the kidneys in people affected by renal vascular hypertension
- Opening up of carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain
- Increasing flow in the graft or fistula to help improve dialysis
This is a simple procedure that is opted over a bypass surgery. It has a high success rate.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.