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Angioplasty Procedure Information

Coronary arteries can become narrowed or blocked when plaque builds up on the inside of the artery wall. This build up of plaque is called atherosclerosis and it can reduce blood flow and make it harder for the heart to work.

Coronary angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty, is performed to open these blocked coronary arteries to improve blood flow through them.

Coronary angioplasty is a fairly common procedure used to open arteries in people who have coronary artery disease, a disease that occurs when your coronary arteries are blocked by atherosclerosis.

Heart attack patients may also receive coronary angioplasty of open the blocked arteries that cause the heart attack.

Coronary angioplasty is performed with the use of a cardiac catheter which has a balloon attached to the end. When the catheter is placed at the site of the blockage or narrowing, the balloon is inflated to press the blockage against the wall of the artery. The result is a greater opening in the artery for blood to flow through.

Stents are now commonly used as part of angioplasty. Stents are small tubes, often made out of mesh, that are placed within the artery. Stents may also be used to strengthen a weakened artery. After the plaque on the artery wall is compressed, the stent is placed in the artery to prevent narrowing or blockages from recurring.

You will most likely be awake when a cardiac angioplasty is performed. You may receive a mild sedative to calm you and a local anesthesia at the site where the IV line is placed.


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