An angioplasty is a procedure used to open narrowed coronary arteries and improve blood flow to the heart. It can either be performed during a diagnostic catheterization after a blockage has been found – or it may be scheduled after a catheterization has confirmed the diagnosis of significant coronary artery disease.
During an angioplasty, a small balloon-tipped catheter is inserted inside the blocked area of the coronary artery. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times, which presses the fatty plaque deposit against the artery walls and dilates the vessel, allowing the blood to flow more easily through the heart. Almost all angioplasty procedures are followed by the implantation of a small, metal mesh tube called a stent, which aids in keeping the artery open. Once the procedure is completed, the catheter and balloon are removed.
The catheter site will be checked for any bleeding or swelling, and your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored. Medication will be administered to relax you to protect the arteries against any spasms. About half of the patients will go home the same day, the other half remain in the hospital overnight to be monitored. If there are no complications, you’ll be able to go home the next day.
Three quarters of the catheterizations and angioplasties are performed through the wrist. The other quarter are performed through the leg. After an angioplasty procedure, if the procedure is performed through the wrist, patients are typically able to walk within one hour. If the procedure is performed through the leg, then it’s typically two to six hours. You are asked to avoid any physical activity for several days, as well as to avoid any lifting or other strenuous physical activity until your cardiologist indicates you can return to your normal activities.
To learn more about angioplasty services at Summa Health Heart and Vascular Institute, call us today.