Coronary angioplasty which is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention is a process which is used to open up clogged arteries. The process basically involves inserting and inflating a balloon temporarily in the area where the artery is clogged to enable widening it. In most cases of angioplasty, surgeons also place a stent which is a small mesh wire tube permanently to help solve the problem further.
The stent also helps to avoid narrowing of the artery again and is often coated with medication in order to help keep the artery open. Angioplasty of the heart is a procedure which can improve several symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain and blockage in arteries. It is important to remember that heart is the most vital organ in the body and if anything does abnormal with it, treatment is recommended as soon as possible.
Symptoms which suggest that you need coronary angioplasty:
- If you are suffering from coronary heart disease then you might need
- If a person is suffering from atherosclerosis then in that case too
he might need to go for coronary angioplasty.
- Blockage in the arteries is a serious problem and one may need
coronary angioplasty to deal with it and lead a healthy life.
- If the rate of your blood flow goes too low or too high then in that
case you would need coronary angioplasty.
Pre procedure and preparation
One may need to follow certain steps in order to prepare for coronary angioplasty and they are given as follows:
- Doctors will review your medical history and records to check whether
you should go for angioplasty or not.
- An imaging test called coronary angiogram is also done to see if the
blockages can be treated with this surgery or not.
- One may need to stop eating or drinking before angioplasty as a
process to prepare for the surgical procedure.
- You may need to stop taking certain medications before coronary
- Arrange for pick up and drop off for yourself.
The procedure is performed in a cath lab and involves the following steps:
- The surgery is performed through an artery in the groin area and this
area is prepared with an antiseptic solution. Doctors will spread a
sterile sheet over the body of the patient.
- A catheter is inserted in the arms or legs by making a small
- Local anaesthesia is given where the catheter is inserted and
electrode pads will be placed on the chest to monitor the heart.
- On the incision area, a small needle is inserted to access an
artery.a small cut is made here.
- A thin guidewire is threaded followed by a catheter into the artery
till it reaches the bloackage area in the heart.
- Now dye is injected through the catheter to highlight the area for
the xray or angiograms.
- A small balloon is now inflated at the end of catheter. This helps to
widen the artery. Once it is done, the balloon is deflated and then
- This process is followed by stent placement.
Once the surgery is complete, you will have to stay in the hospital for a few more days, depending upon your condition. You will be monitored quite frequently by the surgeons and doctors and your readings will be noted down. You will be able to return to work after about a week of angioplasty.
Doctors will advise the patient to drink plenty of fluids to flush the dye out of the body. Also, you will have to be careful about what you eat. You will be asked to stop drinking and smoking and minimize consumption of junk food. Make sure you take the doctor’s recommendations and medication prescription seriously.
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Risks and complications
It is an important thing to note that coronary angioplasty is associated with a number of risks and even complications due to which people often weigh whether they should go for it or not. The following is a list of the possible risks:
1. Blood clots may form within the stents and this is quite a big risk.
2. Re narrowing of the arteries which is termed as restenosis is
another problem which can crop up and pose as a complication.
3. Some people may also experience bleeding in arms or legs where
catheter was put and this can prove to be a problem as well.
4. Heart attack and stroke are some rare risks related to coronary
5. Some people may also experience kidney problems after coronary
6. Other complications include artery damage and abnormal heart rhytms.
In India, the treatment cost for coronary angioplasty along with stent insertion may cost between Rs. 250000 and Rs. 40000. However in other countries, the price may greatly differ. The price may differ even in India depending upon the doctor, surgeon, hospital and other such factors.
Key global facts
The following are some key global facts about coronary arteries:
- About one-third patients with coronary heart disease undergo
coronary angioplasty and stenting.
- Every year, about 3 hundred thousand angioplasties are done in
- There are three types of angioplasties balloon angioplasty,stent angioplasty and cutting balloon angioplasty.
Some benefits of coronary angioplasty include decrease in heart attack risk, increased blood flow rate to the heart and reduction in angina risk.