What is Coronary Angioplasty ?
Angioplasty is derived from the words ‘Angio’ meaning vessel and plasticos which means fit for molding. Angioplasty is a medical procedure which involves the alteration of a narrowed or obstructed vascular lumen usually caused by atheroma. All kinds of vascular interventions performed in minimally invasive or percutaneous method are a part of the angioplasty. Angioplasty was first used in 1977 where a tiny balloon was used to open and widen narrowed arteries. Now the procedure has improved with the use of modern devices like stents, laser and new methods.
Procedure for Coronary Angioplasty
Coronary Angioplasty also known as percutaneous coronary intervention involves a small incision to be made in the arm or groin to find an artery. The cardiologist leads a thin wire through the incision to the blocked artery. As soon as the wire reaches the blocked artery, a catheter with a deflated balloon is passed over the inserted wire to the blocked area. When the tube reaches the blockage the balloon is inflated which in turn widens the artery the increase the blood flow. Plaque removers may be used to remove the deposited plaque from the walls of the artery. Modern devices like stents are used to keep the artery open. A stent is permanently fixed. After about 4 to 5 hours of the Coronary Angioplasty the wire and catheter are removed.
How long does the Coronary Angioplasty procedure take ?
Percutaneous coronary intervention usually takes about 2 hours. During the procedure, the patient is kept awake but feels drowsy due to the effect of medication given to him.
Coronary Angioplasty Facilities
The Cardiologists at Hospitals have pioneered Coronary Artery Stenting in India. They have specialized in techniques including Percutaneous Transluminal Septal Myocardial Ablation.
There has been a latest advancement in Coronary Angiopalsty in the form of Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR), which is available in India too.
Benefits of Coronary Angioplasty
The main aim of Coronary Angioplasty is to widen the narrowed blood vessels, in order to increase the flow of blood to the heart. Another prime benefit is that it also decreases the risk of a heart attack, reduces the symptoms of angina, and also considerably slows down the progress of coronary artery diseases.
What to expect after Coronary Angioplasty ?
- The procedure of Cornoary Angioplasty improves the flow of blood through the coronary arteries. It might also eradicate the need of coronary artery bypass surgery too.
- After surgery one gets relief from chest pain improving capacity of exercising. In some cases, there is complete elimination of the narrowing and even blockage.
- Although the procedure treats the condition, but does not completely cure. Regular narrowing over a span of 6 months can occur in some of the cases, which might not always need a complete repeat procedure.
- A patients should eat right, exercise, give up smoking, and reduce taking stress so that the chances of reappearance are lowered down. The specialist might prescribe a medication, may be a statin drug, for lowering down the cholesterol of the patient.
- It is possible that in case the arteries do not get sufficiently widened or the blockages are quite severe to get treated by coronary angioplasty, then heart surgery (CABG surgery) might be recommended.
Angioplasty vs. Bypass Surgery
It is not easy for a patient to make a choice between angioplasty and bypass surgery on his own, which happens due to various factors like the condition of the disease in an individual. The doctor also checks the symptoms of the patient along with his overall heart function and co-existing medical conditions.
In case the narrowing in the arteries is serious about reducing the blood flow in the heart of the patient then angioplasty is recommended. But if the patient has various blockages, bypass surgery is certainly better.
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