Some people have coronary artery disease. Hence, it means that they have a plaque narrows or blocks their arteries in the heart. Therefore, doctors do angioplasty to keep the blood flowing through the artery. Also, they use it to widen the artery. As a result, it restores the blood flow.
Angioplasty comes from two Greek words. The first word is angeîon\ or cavity. The second word is plássō, which means form or mold. There are many terms for this process. Another popular term is balloon angioplasty, as the catheter has a balloon attached to it. Also, this stent is the one doctors insert in the narrowed artery. After inserting it, they inflate the balloon to widen the artery.
In most cases, doctors insert another catheter with a stent. This stent is a small metal mesh tube. Also, it acts as lasting support to the artery.
This procedure is safe. However, there are possible risks and complications for this procedure. They are as follow:
- Allergic reaction: It is a bad reaction used as x-ray dye.
- Bleeding: Bleeding may occur in the area where the doctor inserted the catheter. It may be on your leg or arm. If bruises occur, then there might be bleeding.
- Blood clots: In some cases, blood clots may form within the stents after the procedure. If these clots occur, it may close the artery and result in a heart attack.
- A clog in the stent is very dangerous and can cause death.
- Heart valve or blood vessel damage
- Heart attack: This rare risk may occur during the process.
- Kidney failure: The dye in this treatment may cause kidney damage. For people with kidney problems, the risk may be higher.
- Irregular heartbeat: The heart may beat too fast or slow during the process.
- Stroke: As the doctors thread the catheters through the aorta, the plaques may break loose. As a result, blood clots inside the catheters may travel to the brain. This case is also rare.
4. Before the Procedure
Before the coronary angioplasty, doctors will look at your health condition and history. They will also do a physical exam. You may undergo routine tests like chest X-rays and blood tests. They may perform an imaging test. By doing so, they’ll see if you have blocked arteries to your heart.
If you are taking medications, they may tell you to adjust or stop them. Before the procedure, you’ll need to stop eating or drinking for 6 to 8 hours. Most cases do not need general anesthesia. However, you’ll receive a sedative, and this will help you relax. But you might still be awake during the procedure.
Doctors may insert the stent in an artery in the arm, groin, or wrist. After, they thread it to the artery with an X-ray imaging. Later, they inject an amount of dye through the stent to the artery. Doing so will help them to know where the blocked arteries are.
As the catheter reaches the affected area, the doctors will inflate the balloon. In turn, space forms between the blocked artery, then the blood flow goes back to normal. After, they deflate the balloon and remove it.
As you recover, drink lots of fluids to flush out the dye in your body. In the meantime, avoid strenuous exercise like lifting weights. You may ask a doctor or nurse about other activities that you must avoid doing.
During the procedure, they will track your:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Oxygen level
Doing so will help in stopping further problems.
8. Survival Rate
The survival rate is high. Five years after coronary angioplasty, about 89.7% of patients are still alive.
A blockage in the artery may increase the risk of death or heart attack. Many Americans undergo balloon angioplasty to avoid its complications. This procedure may cost about $32,200 in the United States. Prices differ based on hospital and country.
10. Difference from Other Procedure
Others might mistake angioplasty from bypass surgery or angiography. Bypass surgery creates a different route around the blocked artery. Another procedure is angiography. Doctors use this to check your blood vessels if there are possible heart problems.