Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that widens narrow or blocked arteries. It is particularly helpful for people with diseases like Atherosclerosis or Coronary heart disease. The arteries can become blocked up over time from deposits of plaque. Plaques may be fats, cholesterol, cells, and other substances.

Angioplasty is often used to restore blood flow to the heart in people who have coronary arteries affected by atherosclerosis. This may help to reduce heart muscle damage after a heart attack, reduce the risk of heart attacks and death, and improve certain CHD symptoms, such as angina (chest pain) and shortness of breath.

Angioplasty may also be used to help with other issues, including:

  • Atherosclerosis in the legs or arms, also known as peripheral artery disease
  • Renal vascular hypertension, or high blood pressure caused by the narrowing of the kidney arteries, usually from atherosclerosis
  • Carotid artery stenosis, in which the neck arteries supplying blood to the brain become narrowed

First, your doctor will need to locate the narrowed or blocked passages in your arteries through an Angiography.

Then, a small tube called a catheter will be inserted into an artery (usually in your groin or arm) and then threaded to the problematic area, such as the coronary arteries.

A special dye will be injected into your body through the catheter. This dye shows up on x-ray images and allows your doctor to see the blood flow in your arteries.

Next, during the angioplasty, a catheter with a balloon on its tip will be inserted and threaded to the blocked artery. The balloon will be expanded to flatten the plaque against the artery wall and improve blood flow, and then deflated and removed.

In some cases, the deflated balloon catheter will be covered with a small wire mesh tube called a stent. This stays in the body permanently to keep the arteries open after the catheter is removed.

Some serious complications may come after a coronary angioplasty, however, it is uncommon. This may include:

  • Stroke
  • Angina
  • Heart Attack
  • Irregular Heart beat
  • Artery Collapse
  • Blood Vessel Damage and Bleeding
  • Scar Tissue and Blood Clots around Stents
  • Allergenic Reactions or Kidney Damage from the Angiography Dye

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