What is Cardiac Angioplasty?

Emma Lloyd
Emma Lloyd
An angioplasty is commonly used to place a stent to help clear arterial blockage.
An angioplasty is commonly used to place a stent to help clear arterial blockage.

Cardiac angioplasty is a procedure carried out on someone with coronary artery disease. When an artery becomes blocked as a result of this disease, blood flow to the heart can be interrupted temporarily, causing a heart attack. A cardiac angioplasty can restore normal blood flow to the heart to reduce the risk of heart attack. Although an artificial device is placed in one or more cardiac arteries during an angioplasty, this procedure is not surgical. Instead, a catheter is used to place a stent in the artery to keep it open or to perform another procedure to widen the artery.

Cardiac angioplasty is a procedure carried out to improve blood flow in a partially blocked artery.
Cardiac angioplasty is a procedure carried out to improve blood flow in a partially blocked artery.

The cardiac angioplasty procedure is carried out in two stages. First, a catheter is inserted into an artery that feeds the heart, typically the femoral artery in the groin. The catheter is then fed through the artery until it reaches the arteries near the heart. Next, contrast dye is introduced into artery via the catheter, to allow camera equipment to take photographs of the arteries and heart in order to locate the site of arterial blockage.

In the second stage of cardiac angioplasty, a procedure is carried out to improve blood flow in the partially blocked artery. There are several procedures that might be performed to repair the artery. One of these is balloon angioplasty, in which a catheter with a balloon tip is inserted into the femoral artery. The balloon tip is expanded at the site of arterial blockage, expanding the artery to allow blood to flow more freely.

Another procedure that often is performed during angioplasty is stent placement. A stent is a tiny expandable tube made of metal mesh, and it is inserted at the site of arterial blockage, typically during balloon angioplasty. The stent is placed after the balloon tip is used to inflate the artery. After the stent is in place, it is expanded and serves to hold the artery open.

One of the most problematic elements of introducing a stent into an artery is that the stent is a foreign object and can trigger an immune response. Depending on the intensity of the response, the inflammatory reaction can cause scar tissue development that narrows the artery. To prevent this problem, a drug-eluting stent might be used. This type of stent releases an immune system-suppressing drug over time in order to prevent an inflammatory reaction that might block the artery.

Another potential problem is the risk of blood clots forming at the site of stent placement. This can occur as a result of an immune response or simply because of the stent insertion. After undergoing cardiac angioplasty, a patient generally is prescribed blood-thinning medication to reduce the chances of a clot forming.

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    • An angioplasty is commonly used to place a stent to help clear arterial blockage.
      By: London_England
      An angioplasty is commonly used to place a stent to help clear arterial blockage.
    • Cardiac angioplasty is a procedure carried out to improve blood flow in a partially blocked artery.
      By: designua
      Cardiac angioplasty is a procedure carried out to improve blood flow in a partially blocked artery.