How Does Angioplasty Work?

The heart is supplied by three major coronary arteries and their branches. Atherosclerosis produces blockage within a coronary artery which may reduce blood supply to heart muscles. Some patients with coronary artery disease may require surgery. Many patients with serious disease or those who failed on medical therapy are treated with Angioplasty.

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure done to treat blockage within the arteries and to prevent more severe injuries from constricted veins in the heart and in some parts concerned with the nervous system. Nowadays, it has become as a practical procedure that can also be done to treat minor injuries such as varicose veins and spider veins.

The procedure is done by widening narrowed or obstructed arteries using a small balloon catheter attached to a guide wire. Upon placing the balloon catheter in the obstructed artery, it will then be inflated, opening up the blood vessel in order to improve the blood flow. In some procedure, a stent which is a small mesh tube is inserted to the artery to keep the passage open ensuring a proper blood flow.

As Angioplasty physically opens the channel of diseased arterial segments, it relieves the recurrence of chest pain, reduces the disease’s complications, and improves the quality of life. Since it is much less invasive than other surgery, it can be repeated when the patient develop disease in the same, or another, artery in the future.

After the procedure is done, patients are carefully monitored overnight in the hospital for observation if there will be any complications associated with the operation. This is very critical especially for severe infection. Spasms can normally occur after the procedure affecting the operated area which can be dangerous as to can further the damage on the artery. In order to prevent it from happening, medication is given to help the patient relax and maintain a normal heart rate and blood pressure.

Recovery can differ depending on how serious the operation is. Physical activity like lifting heavy objects and other strenuous activities should be avoided for several days. However, patients can walk for several hours after the operation depending on how serious the case of the patient.