An angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked heart arteries. Coronary arteries get blocked due to deposition of fats, cholesterol or plaque. These blockages stop the blood flow to the heart muscles. Due to the insufficient supply of oxygenated blood, the heart muscles start dying. This condition is known as heart attack. Or decreased blood flow due to block can lead to chest pain and breathlessness, which also requires treatment.
In angioplasty, area of arterial blockages is opened by inserting a catheter with a tiny inflatable balloon on the end. Hence it is also known as Balloon Angioplasty. This is followed by placement of stent to open the blockage.
Angioplasty can also relieve the symptoms of heart diseases. Cardiologist performs coronary angiography before coronary angioplasty. This procedure is also called a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention.
How an Angioplasty is performed?
1) Before performing balloon angioplasty, patient’s blood test, X- ray ECG and ECHO is taken by the Cardiologist.
2) Cardiologist advised patient not to drink or eat for 4 hours before angioplasty.
3) Mild anesthesia is given to patient by local anesthetic. Cardiologist inserts a catheter either from leg or arm artery.
4) Cardiologist gently inserts the catheter through radial artery into the heart. Doctor monitors the process with the help X ray or radio monitor.
5) Once the catheter balloon reaches to the blockage area a dye is injected and image of coronary artery is taken.
6) After the finding of exact location, balloon is slipped over the guide wire and fixed into the blockage and finally the balloon is inflated.
7) The balloon compresses the plaque and clears the way for smooth blood flow in the heart. In this way, oxygenated blood flows to the heart muscles.
8) In all cases stent is used to hold blood vessel open. Stents are made of metal with or without drug coating.
9) Stent remains in place after the balloons is deflated and removed. The procedure takes from 30 minutes to few hours depending on the severity.
Benefits of Angioplasty:
1) Cardiologist can restore blood flow in a very short time period with the help of angioplasty.
2) Angioplasty has very low risk. Angioplasty saves the valuable life of heart attack patient.
3) Angioplasty immediately reduces symptoms like chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath.
4) Patient can get discharge from hospital within two days and also can resume work after the rest of one week.
Today with the help of advanced medical technology, cardiologist performs Angioplasty more efficiently to cure heart diseases.
After the Angioplasty treatment, doctor advise patient to maintain healthy lifestyle. Patient should always take medicines as per prescription by cardiologist. Patient should quit smoking and alcohol. A well balanced diet and regular exercise help to lower the blood pressure and cholesterol level.