Angioplasty and Stenting
What Is It?
Angioplasty is a process to re-open or enlarge blood vessels that are closed or occluded. It may involve one of several techniques including expanding a small balloon in the vessel, injecting agents to dissolve clots, or inserting a metal device called a stent to keep the vessel open.
- Coronary angioplasty is a medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open a blockage in a coronary (heart) artery narrowed by atherosclerosis. This procedure improves blood flow to the heart.
- Atherosclerosis is a condition in which a material called plaque builds up on the inner walls of the arteries. When atherosclerosis affects the coronary arteries, the condition is called coronary artery disease (CAD).
- Angioplasty can improve some of the symptoms of CAD, such as angina (chest pain) and shortness of breath. It also can reduce damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack and reduce the risk of death in some patients.
- You may need angioplasty if medicines and lifestyle changes haven't improved your symptoms of CAD. You also may need angioplasty as emergency treatment during a heart attack.
- Angioplasty is less invasive than surgery. General anesthesia isn't needed. You will be given medicines to help you relax, but you will be awake during the procedure.
- Angioplasty is performed in a special part of the hospital called the cardiac catheterization laboratory.
Before angioplasty is done, your doctor will need to know whether your coronary arteries are blocked. To find out, he or she will do an angiogram and take an x-ray picture of your arteries to show any blockages and where they're located. Once your doctor has this information, the angioplasty can proceed.
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Waqar Khan, M.D., MPH, FACC, FSCAI
Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center
425 Holderrieth Blvd., Suite #212
Tomball, TX 77375