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Coronary Angioplasty

What is Coronary Angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty is a non-surgical technique that is used to open or widen the passageway in narrowed coronary arteries.  It relieves symptoms of coronary heart disease by improving the flow of blood to the heart muscle.

During the procedure, a special catheter (a long, thin, flexible tube) with a small balloon at its tip is guided into the diseased artery.  When the catheter reaches the blocked area, the balloon is inflated, stretching the artery and flattening the fatty deposits against the artery's wall.

Coronary Angioplasty and Stents

As part of your treatment for coronary heart disease, your doctor may decide to implant a stent after balloon angioplasty.  This possibility will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.

A stent is a small metal coil, slotted tube, or mesh structure that is placed in an artery to help prevent it from closing off.  The stent is a permanent implant that will remain in the artery.

Cardiac Catheterization

If your doctor suspects you have coronary heart disease, he or she may recommend that you undergo cardiac catheterization (also called an angiogram).

During catheterization, x-ray dye is injected into the coronary arteries and pictures are taken.  In patients with coronary heart disease, the pictures show the actual blockages and their severity.