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What is angioplasty?

Angioplasty is a surgical, endovascular procedure that is minimally invasive and is used to widen blocked or narrowed blood vessels (arteries and veins) around the heart in order to restore normal blood flow. In pathological terms, angioplasty is called percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI.

Definition of Angioplasty – In a simple definition, the term “angio” means anything related to blood vessels while “plastic”, in medical terms, refers to the molding or grafting of any part of the body, which in this case refers to Heart vessels.

Angioplasty can help relieve the symptoms of blockages and spasms in the arteries that are often performed immediately after a heart attack. In the coronary angioplasty procedure, a small balloon catheter is used to unclog the heart vessels, and as a result, the blood flow to the heart improves. Sometimes, this process is combined with the placement of a metal stent in the artery to help keep the coronary artery wall open.

Types of angioplasty

There are different methods of angioplasty that doctors can choose depending on the type of disease the patient is suffering from. These methods include the following:

Balloon angioplasty method

For this procedure, doctors place a small catheter with a balloon in the veins of the heart. The deflated balloon is fixed at the tip of the catheter and placed near the plaque or blood vessel blockage. Doctors then inflate the balloon to gradually open the blockage, thereby increasing blood flow to the heart. This balloon surgery for the heart is performed in rare cases when doctors are unable to use the stent method.

Placing a stent in the heart

This method of cardiac stent placement involves the use of a stent or a small tube made of wire mesh. and acts as a platform to support the inside of the coronary artery. Using a deflated balloon catheter, doctors use a guide wire to place a stent in the blocked part of your artery. Once in position, the balloon is inflated and the angioplasty stents expand to preserve the artery walls. Over a period of time, the artery heals around the stent.

The stent used in angioplasty is usually made of metal and is permanently placed in the veins, but can be designed with materials that can be absorbed by the body. Some stents used in angioplasty contain drugs that help reduce the risk of reocclusion of the artery.

Rotation method

In this angioplasty process, a special catheter with an acorn-shaped tip and a diamond coating is guided near the heart plaque. The tip then rotates at high speed to break up the blockage or plaque into microscopic particles. These particles are then absorbed by the bloodstream.

This process is repeated as often as necessary to clear the path of blood flow from obstacles. Rotation is not a common procedure because angiographic stents and cardiac balloon procedures have better results and are easier for the doctor to perform.

Arterial atherectomy

A sophisticated method of using balloon therapy for coronary arteries involves the use of a hollow cylinder at the tip of the catheter, where one side has an open window while the other side has a deflated balloon. When placed near the narrowed artery, the balloon inflates and pushes the window toward the blockage or plaques in the artery. A blade inside the cylinder rotates, thus removing and scraping the plaque that protrudes inside the hollow tube. The chips are stored inside the chamber and separated from the body. This procedure is rarely done.

Incision balloon angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty incision surgery involves the use of a special balloon catheter equipped with a deflated balloon and small blades. When placed near the plaque, the inflation of the balloon activates blades that distort and cut the plaque in the heart artery. Meanwhile, the plaques are pushed against the artery wall by the now-inflated balloon

How is angioplasty performed?

What is angioplasty surgery?

An angioplasty procedure is performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory by a trained cardiologist. Insertion of the balloon catheter is generally done through the groin, arm, or wrist. The patient is often not unconscious during surgery. Sedation is given to help you relax. Most of the time, patients can also be awake during the procedure, but it depends on how sedated they are.

How to prepare for angioplasty surgery

Apart from the regular medical examination, doctors perform a series of tests as angioplasty preparation steps. These tests include the following:

X-ray of the chest


blood test

Doctors also advise patients to undergo special X-ray imaging tests before undergoing this procedure. This test is called coronary angiogram. This is a medical imaging technique that doctors use to see the details inside each blood vessel. These images provide doctors with the necessary information to make decisions about the treatment process. Through coronary angiography, doctors can determine the area where the arteries are narrowed and to what extent. This test also provides information about artery blockages or wall narrowings.

As post-angiogram treatment is about to begin, these are the steps the patient should follow:

The doctor may advise the patient to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or blood thinners.

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