Coronary angioplasty is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention, percutaneous intervention, percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, balloon angioplasty and coronary artery angioplasty. It is a medical procedure done to open blocked coronary (heart) arteries. Coronary angioplasty helps restore blood flow to the heart muscle.
Owing to the plaque build-up, coronary arteries become narrow or get blocked. This happens overtime and the phenomenon is called atherosclerosis. When the coronary arteries are affected, it is called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease. When coronary arteries get blocked, the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is affected and it may inflict damage to the heart muscle.
In some cases, the plaque may rupture and causes a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque in the artery. If the clot is big and completely blocks blood flow through the artery, you may have a heart attack.
Coronary angioplasty is performed to restore blood flow to the heart. In the medical procedure, a thin, flexible catheter (tube) with a balloon at its tip is inserted into the affected artery. The catheter is usually threaded through a blood vessel in the groin into the affected artery. Thereafter, the balloon is inflated when the catheter is in place to compress the plaque in the artery against the wall and restores blood flow through the artery.
The procedure of coronary angioplasty improves symptoms of CHD such as angina or in case of heart attack. It can also limit the amount of damage to heart muscles. The procedure can take 30 minutes to three hours depending on the technical difficulty of the case and the number of blockages.
Coronary angioplasty can be done in emergency situations such as after a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscles becomes severely compromised because of blockage of the coronary arteries. When angioplasty is done immediately after a heart attack, it can limit the amount of damage caused to heart muscles.
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