What is Coronary Angioplasty?

Coronary Angioplasty is a procedure used to treat narrow coronary arteries of the heart. It is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention .Percutaneous means through the skin and coronary means connected to heart.

Who need coronary angioplasty?

  • Angina: Coronary angioplasty may be performed in individuals experiencing symptoms of angina (chest pain or discomfort) that is not adequately controlled with medications or lifestyle changes. The procedure helps to improve blood flow to the heart muscle, relieving angina symptoms.
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome: In cases of unstable angina or myocardial infarction (heart attack), coronary angioplasty is often performed as an emergency procedure. It helps to restore blood flow to the blocked coronary artery and minimize damage to the heart muscle.
  • Significant Coronary Artery Narrowing: When diagnostic tests, such as coronary angiography, reveal significant narrowing or blockages in the coronary arteries (usually greater than 70% blockage), angioplasty may be considered to improve blood flow to the affected area of the heart.
  • Failed Medical Therapy: If medications and lifestyle modifications fail to adequately control symptoms or reduce the risk of complications, coronary angioplasty may be recommended as an alternative treatment option.

Coronary angioplasty procedure:

Here are the general steps involved in a coronary angioplasty procedure:

  1. Preparation: The patient is prepared for the procedure, which typically involves administering medications, cleaning and sterilizing the insertion site (usually the groin or wrist), and applying local anaesthesia to numb the area.
  2. Arterial Access: A catheter (a thin, flexible tube) is inserted into an artery, commonly the femoral artery in the groin, or sometimes the radial artery in the wrist. The catheter is guided through the artery toward the heart using fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray) and occasionally with the aid of ultrasound.
  3. Guidewire Insertion: A guidewire, a thin, flexible wire, is passed through the catheter and advanced to the coronary arteries. The guidewire helps navigate through the blood vessels and reach the site of the blockage.
  4. Angiography: A contrast dye is injected through the catheter, and X-ray imaging (angiography) is performed to visualize the coronary arteries and identify the location and severity of any blockages.
  5. Balloon Catheter Insertion: Once the blockage is identified, a balloon catheter is advanced over the guidewire to the site of the blockage. The deflated balloon is positioned within the narrowed or blocked artery.
  6. Balloon Inflation: The balloon is inflated, exerting pressure on the plaque or blockage against the arterial wall. The inflation expands the narrowed artery, compresses the plaque, and restores blood flow through the vessel.
  7. Stent Placement: In many cases, a stent, which is a small mesh-like tube, is placed during the procedure. The stent is mounted on the balloon catheter and expands when the balloon is inflated. It helps to hold the artery open, maintain blood flow, and provide long-term support to the arterial wall. The stent remains in the artery permanently.
  8. Balloon Deflation and Catheter Removal: Once the stent is in place, the balloon is deflated and removed. The stent remains in the artery, providing structural support.
  9. Post-procedure Assessment: After the procedure, the cardiologist assesses the blood flow through the treated artery using angiography. This helps determine the success of the angioplasty and the restoration of blood flow.
  10. Closure and Recovery: The catheter insertion site is typically closed using pressure, sutures, or closure devices. The patient is then transferred to a recovery area, where they are monitored for a period to ensure stability and manage any potential complications.

Dr. Lingaraj Nath is experienced in the use of many technologies including angioplasty. Dr. Lingaraj Nath has twenty three years of experience in cardiology. He is a Top Cardiologist in Bhubaneswar.