Angioplasty is the procedure of opening a coronary artery blockage with the help of wire balloon and stent. This procedure is done to open the blocked coronary arteries if they are causing symptoms or acute heart attacks.
HOW IT IS DONE?
The procedure is usually done in local anaesthesia. A wrist artery (radial) or a groin artery (femoral) is used to gain access to the coronary artery as is done in angiography. A hollow tube called a catheter is passed upto heart artery and through this, a guidewire is passed across the blockage and over this wire balloon is passed and blockage dilated.
After this balloon is removed and the metallic stent is passed over this wire. The stent is then inflated and it takes its shape of the hollow tube so that the flow in the coronary artery is restored.
WHAT ARE INDICATIONS OF ANGIOPLASTY AND STENTING:
An acute Heart attack is the most definite indication of angioplasty and stenting. At the time of the heart attack, there is an urgent need to restore the blood flow of block coronary artery which is usually not possible with medicines alone. Angioplasty is the most effective and definite way of opening the artery urgently in such situation.
SHOULD ALL BLOCKAGES BE OPENED UP BY ANGIOPLASTY AND STENTING?
NO, all blockages do not warrant this procedure. There is some amount of risk involved in the angioplasty procedure itself. When the risk of blockage is considered more than the risk of opening the artery then the procedure is indicated. Patients who are doing good on medicines may be followed up without angioplasty.