- Coronary Angioplasty
A coronary angioplasty is a procedure used to widen blocked or narrowed coronary arteries (the main blood vessels supplying the heart). The term ‘angioplasty’ means using a balloon to stretch open a narrowed or blocked artery.
However, most modern angioplasty procedures also involve inserting a short wire-mesh tube, called a stent, into the artery during the procedure. The stent is left in place permanently to allow blood to flow more freely.
Coronary angioplasty is sometimes known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). The combination of coronary angioplasty with stenting is usually referred to as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
During coronary angiography, special dye is released into the bloodstream. The dye makes the coronary arteries visible on x-ray pictures. This helps doctors see blockages in the arteries.
What is coronary angioplasty used for?
Coronary angioplasty is commonly used to treat people who have angina. In these people, angioplasty is usually carried out ‘Electively’. This means a time and date are chosen to do the procedure.
However, angioplasty can also be used to help in emergency situations, such as when a person has a heart attack. A heart attack occurs because part of the heart is not receiving enough blood. This is usually caused by a blockage in an artery supplying blood to the heart itself. Coronary angioplasty is used to widen the artery surrounding the blockage. This helps blood flow back to the affected area and reduces the damage to the heart.