Understanding Coronary Angioplasty Surgery (Heart Health)
Doctors sometimes need to do a special procedure to improve blood flow to the heart muscle when the heart’s artery, or arteries, are narrowed or blocked. One of the most commonly used procedures is coronary angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty. This procedure can be done during a heart attack or later.
While a heart attack is happening, the sooner this procedure is done, the greater the chances of saving heart muscle and of surviving a heart attack. Here’s more on this special procedure:
During a coronary angioplasty, a fine tube, or catheter, is threaded through an artery into the narrowed heart vessel. The catheter has a tiny balloon at its tip. The balloon is repeatedly inflated and deflated to open and stretch the artery, improving blood flow. The balloon is then deflated, and the tube is removed.
Doctors often insert a stent during the angioplasty. A wire mesh tube, the stent is used to keep an artery open after an angioplasty. The stent stays permanently in the artery.
In up to a third of those who have an angioplasty, the blood vessel becomes narrowed or blocked again within six months. This is more likely to happen if you smoke, or have diabetes or unstable angina. Vessels that reclose may be reopened with another angioplasty or need a coronary artery bypass graft. Even an artery with a stent can close again.