What is Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting?
Coronary angioplasty is a medical procedure we use to treat coronary heart disease. It involves inflating a small balloon inside one or more of your coronary arteries to open up an area that has become narrow, improving blood flow to your heart.
In most cases, a stent will also be required in the area of your artery being treated. This is an expandable metal tube which helps keep the artery wide. Over time, the lining of your artery grows over the stent so that it becomes part of your artery wall. At Global Cardiology we also offer bioresorbable stents [link to next section] which reabsorb into the body once they are no longer needed, so that nothing remains.
Why do I need it?
Your doctor may recommend coronary angioplasty to improve blood flow to your heart if tests have shown that one or more of your arteries have become too narrow. We commonly use this procedure to treat angina and heart attacks.
What can I expect?
Coronary angioplasty is performed by Global Cardiology’s heart specialists and a team of specialised cardiovascular nurses in hospital under a local anaesthetic.
You’ll be admitted to hospital on the day of the procedure.
When it’s time to begin, you’ll be taken to the procedure room and asked to lie on an operating table where you will be connected to a heart monitor.
You’ll be given medication to help you relax and provide pain relief.
You will then be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted (either your wrist or groin). Your doctor will gently insert the catheter into an artery until it reaches the blockage in your heart.
You might feel pressure in the area where the catheter is inserted, but not pain. You won’t feel the catheter in your body either.
Next, a dye will be injected into your arteries. This helps your doctor see the blockage on x-ray images called angiograms.
A small balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, which widens the blocked artery. After it is stretched, the balloon is deflated and removed. Your doctor might inflate and deflate it several times, stretching the artery a bit more each time.
If you have several blockages, your doctor may repeat the procedure at each blockage.
Because the balloon temporarily blocks blood flow to part of your heart, it’s normal to feel some chest pain while the balloon is inflated.
Coronary angioplasty can take several hours depending on the number of arteries needing treatment. When the procedure is finished, your doctor will remove the catheter and apply pressure to the area where it was inserted.
You’ll most likely spend the night in hospital while we monitor your heart and adjust your medications. You should be able to return to work or your normal routine within a few days.