Coronary angioplasty is a surgical procedure of the heart used to widen clogged heart arteries. Angioplasty employs a small balloon catheter that is introduced in a clogged blood vessel to help open it and improve blood flow to the heart.
During angioplasty, often a small wire mesh tube called a stent is placed. The stent helps to open the artery, reducing the chances of it narrowing again. Most stents are covered with drugs to help keep the artery open called drug-eluting stents. Rarely, metal stents without drugs are used.
Angioplasty can relieve the symptoms of clogged arteries, such as pain in the chest and shortness of breath. It is also quite often performed during a heart attack to quickly dilate a clogged artery and decrease the extent of damage to the heart.
Angioplasty is performed to treat the accumulation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels of the heart, which occurs in a type of heart disease called atherosclerosis. The procedure can’t be performed in every patient with the illness. Depending on the severity of your heart disease and your overall health, your doctor may decide if another procedure called coronary artery bypass surgery is a better option for you or angioplasty. Angioplasty may be recommended for you if:
Although angioplasty is a less invasive method to open clogged arteries compared to bypass surgery, the procedure still comes with a few risks, including:
Prior to a scheduled angioplasty, your doctor will evaluate your medical history again and conduct a physical examination. Some tests including a chest X-ray, ECG and blood tests may be needed before the procedure. An imaging test called a coronary angiogram may also be performed to determine if the arteries to your heart are clogged and if they can be treated with angioplasty.
If your doctor finds a clogged artery during a coronary angiogram, performing an angioplasty and stenting may be decided in the same setting while your heart is still catheterized. You will be given instructions to help you prepare. Your medications such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or blood thinners might need to be stopped or adjusted. Ensure that you inform your doctor about all medications you consume, including herbal supplements.
Usually, you'll need to stop consuming anything except medications with small sips of water six to eight hours before the procedure. Collect all of your medications and carry those to the hospital with you, including nitroglycerin, if it has been prescribed to you. Arrange for transportation to carry you home when you are discharged. You might be required to stay in the hospital overnight and you won't be able to drive yourself home the next day.
Angioplasty is performed by a team comprising cardiologists and specialized cardiovascular nurses and technicians in an operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory.
Your doctor will disinfect the skin in an area on your leg, arm or wrist using an antiseptic solution and place a sterile drape over your body. The skin is incised a little through which angioplasty is performed. You won’t require general anesthesia. However, the operative area will be made numb by a local anaesthetic agent. A sedative will be given to help you relax, but you will be awake enough to take any instructions depending on how deeply you are sedated.
You will be given fluids and medications like anticoagulants or blood-thinning agents via an IV channel in your hand or arm. Your vital signs like your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels will be monitored the whole time. Your doctor will introduce a local anesthetic to numb the area where a very small incision will be cut. A small, thin wire is then introduced into the blood vessel. Guided by X-rays, your doctor will thread a thin tube called a catheter through the artery.
A dye is injected through the catheter once it is in place and stable. This allows visualization of the inside of your blood vessels and locates the blockage on X-ray images or angiograms. A tiny balloon with a stent at the end of the catheter is inflated at the site of the blockage, dilating the clogged artery. After the artery is dilated, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is taken out. If there are many blockages, the procedure may be repeated at each point. Angioplasty can take several hours. The time taken depends on the difficulty and number of blockages and whether any complications arise.
If the procedure performed on you was not an emergency one, you will need to remain in the hospital overnight while your heart and vital signs are monitored and medications are adjusted. You can return to work or your normal routine the week after angioplasty.
After returning home, consume plenty of fluids to help flush out the contrast dye from your body. Avoid excess exercise and lifting heavy objects for at least a week afterward. Your healthcare team will guide you about other restrictions needed in activity.
Call the hospital staff immediately if:
Coronary angioplasty greatly enhances the flow of blood through the previously narrowed or clogged coronary artery. Chest pain also generally decreases and you may be able to perform physical activities better.
Getting angioplasty and stenting done doesn't mean your heart disease will go away. You'll need to practice healthy lifestyle habits and consume medications as prescribed by your doctor. If you experience the same symptoms that you had before coronary angioplasty, such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, contact the hospital.
Some measures you could take to keep your heart healthy after angioplasty, include:
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital is the best Coronary Angiography hospital in Navi Mumbai. When it comes to cardiac care, experience matters. Our hospital combines the expertise of The best Cardiac Specialists in Navi Mumbai with world-class facilities and infrastructure to provide advanced cardiac care for all ages, aligned with the national and international healthcare standards. We are committed to delivering quality comprehensive medical care and excellent patient service.