Angioplasty is a surgical procedure to widen a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. Coronary Angioplasty is a non-invasive surgery where an empty and collapsed balloon known as catheter is guided into an artery to the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size using water pressures some 75 to 500 times normal blood pressure. The balloon crushes the fatty deposits and helps in opening up the blood vessel for improved blood flow. Then the balloon is deflated and withdrawn. Along with the balloon catheter, a stent (a wire mesh tube) may or may not be inserted to ensure the vessel remains open. The stent if inserted will remain in the blood vessel after the balloon is withdrawn. This stent will ensure the blood flow without obstruction.
Why Coronary Angioplasty Is Required?
When fatty substance build up in arteries, causing them to harden and narrow reducing the free flow of blood. These fatty substances are called plaque. When plaque blocks free flow of blood, such a condition is called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body. When atherosclerosis affects the coronary arteries, the condition is called coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease. Coronary angioplasty is required to restore blood flow to the heart if the coronary arteries have become narrowed or blocked. The procedure usually takes around 30 to 45 minutes, and it may vary and can take longer time depending on how many sections of artery need treatment. Usually, once the coronary angioplasty is done, the patient will be able to go home in 3 days after the surgery is done and should rest for about a week or ten days. It is also advisable not to drive or do strenuous physical activity during recuperating period.
Angioplasty is required to;
- Improve the condition of patient suffering from coronary heart disease, such as angina, difficult in breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, discomfort while doing physical activity.
- To reduce damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack. When plaque blocks blood flow and blood clots on the surface of plaque blocking blood flow through a coronary artery, risk of heart attack is even greater. In such a condition, coronary angioplasty is required to relieve the blockage for free flow of blood.
- Angioplasty reduces the risk of death in some patients who suffer from heart attacks.
How safe is a coronary angioplasty?
Coronary angioplasty being a non-invasive form of surgery does not involve making major incisions in the body. Therefore, coronary angioplasty can be performed safely. However, patients having other health issues such as cancer, liver failure etc. the risk of treatment may be more. Complications are seldom in coronary angioplasty and it depends on individual cases with age and other health factors.
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