- What is angioplasty?
- What is the benefit of having angioplasty?
- What causes blockages in the arteries?
- Why do I need angioplasty?
- What should I expect before my angioplasty?
- What happens during my angioplasty?
- What should I expect after the procedure?
What is angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that repairs and restores blood flow through a narrowed or blocked artery in the heart. The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist.
What is the benefit of having angioplasty?
Angioplasty can prevent a heart attack or stoke by opening your blocked artery, restoring blood flow to your tissues and relieving your symptoms without the need for surgery.
What causes blockages in my arteries?
Blockages in arteries and veins can be caused by smoking, high cholesterol levels, diets high in saturated fats, and cardiovascular disease.
Why do I need angioplasty?
The most common reason for angioplasty is to relieve a blockage of an artery caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a gradual process in which cholesterol and other fatty substances in the bloodstream form a substance called plaque on the inside of the blood vessel walls and clog the artery. When medications or lifestyle changes aren’t enough to reduce the effects of blockages in your arteries, or if you have worsening chest pain or heart problems your doctor may suggest angioplasty. If you have extremely hard plaque deposits, blockages, or blood vessel spasms that don’t go away, you probably are not a good candidate for angioplasty.
What should I expect before my angioplasty?
Prior to the procedure, you may have several tests performed, such as X-rays and blood tests. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure. You should tell the interventional radiologist or nurse if you are allergic to any medications. Angioplasty usually requires an overnight hospital stay. Make sure you arrange for transportation home.
What happens during my angioplasty?
Angioplasty is performed by a specially-trained doctor, called an interventional radiologist.
The interventional radiologist will use an intravenous (IV) line to give you fluids and medicines that will relax you and prevent blood clots. Next the nurse will:
- Shave the area where the catheter or tube will be inserted, usually the arm or groin.
- Clean the shaved area to make it germ free.
- Numb the area.
When you are comfortable, the interventional radiologist will begin the procedure.
- A small incision is made in the skin to find an artery. The doctor then threads a very thin wire through the artery up to the coronary artery that is blocked.
- When the wire reaches the area of the blockage, a tube (called a catheter) with a deflated balloon on the end is threaded into the blocked artery under X-ray guidance.
- A small amount of dye may be injected through the tube into the blood stream to help show the blockage on X-ray. This X-ray picture of the heart is called an angiogram.
- When the tube reaches the blockage, the balloon is inflated. The expanding balloon forces the blockage to open by pushing the walls of the artery outward, increasing blood flow to the heart muscle.
- A stent usually is placed at the site to keep the artery open. Once the balloon has been deflated and withdrawn, the stent remains in place permanently, holding the blood vessel open and restoring blood flow to the arteries.
What should I expect after my procedure?
Your catheter site will be checked for bleeding and swelling after the procedure. Your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored. Your physician may prescribe medication to relax you and protect your arteries against spasm and to prevent blood clots. Usually you will stay at the hospital overnight and return home the day after the procedure. You typically will be able to walk within two to six hours following the procedure and return to your normal routine by the following week.
For more information about this procedure or general information about our interventional radiology practice, please contact one of our clinical coordinators at 513-527-9999.
For more information regarding appointments or locations at The Fort Hamilton Hospital, please call the radiology department at 513-867-2311.
Map and Directions
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