Coronary Angioplasty

What is coronary angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty is a specialized procedure that uses a small balloon to open a coronary artery narrowed by fatty plaque buildup, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This improves blood flow to the heart. Angioplasty can also improve the symptoms of blocked arteries, including chest pain and shortness of breath. During a heart attack, cardiologists often perform angioplasty to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce damage to your heart.

During angioplasty, it is common to place a stent in the blocked artery. A stent looks like a tiny mesh coil, which supports your artery walls to prevent them from narrowing again after the procedure. The stent is placed around a deflated balloon at the tip of the catheter, which is guided through the artery to the blockage. When it reaches the blockage, your doctor inflates the balloon, allowing the stent to expand and lock into place permanently to improve blood flow to your heart. After we place the stent, we deflate and remove the balloon catheter. Stents implanted during an angioplasty are typically drug-coated (called drug-eluting stents). This medication is slowly released to help prevent future plaque buildup in that blood vessel.

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