Angioplasty

Introduction

Angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, is a medical procedure in which the blocked or narrowed arteries and veins are widened. It is a minimally invasive procedure and is done with the help of a balloon. A deflated balloon is inserted into the affected vessel with the help of a catheter and then it is inflated to decongest the vessel, which helps to improve blood flow to the arteries. This procedure is quite popular and trusted by cardiologists for the treatment of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.


When is it performed?

Angioplasty is performed in cases where the patient is suffering from arterial atherosclerosis (narrowed arteries due to a buildup of plaque) or has experienced a heart attack. It is performed after the physical examination of the patient and only when medication has not given satisfactory results. It is recommended to the patient based on their symptoms and results of angiography.


How is it performed?

It is performed under local anesthesia and can take anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the severity of the blockage. A deflated balloon which is attached to a catheter is passed through the guide wires into the narrowed blood vessels through the groin or wrist. After this, the balloon is inflated which expands the vessel and the adjoining muscular wall, thereby, restoring the normal blood flow. At times, a stent may also be inserted during the procedure to keep the vessel open. After the surgery is over, the punctured vessel is sealed with a vascular closure device or direct pressure.


Recovery

The patient can go home the same day or the next day after angioplasty. They can resume normal routine gradually and go to work within a week. During the recovery, the patient should take precaution and not indulge in stressful activities. They should also refrain from driving and flying. In case of any discomfort, they should immediately meet the doctor.