Coronary Angioplasty

Coronary angioplasty is a percutaneous coronary intervention. It is used to open the blocked heart arteries. This procedure involves using a balloon to widen the blocked arteries, which enhances blood flow to the heart. The procedure is generally combined with a stent placement procedure to reduce the risk of re-narrowing the arteries. These stents may be coated with drugs (drug-eluting stents) to maintain the opening of the artery.

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  • Preparing for Angioplasty: The patient undergoes a comprehensive examination and medical history before angioplasty. The doctor may also perform a chest X-ray, blood test, and echocardiogram before the procedure. Coronary angiography is also performed to determine the site of the blockage and if it can be removed through angioplasty. Patients should stop blood-thinning medications before the procedure.
  • Procedure for Angioplasty: Angioplasty is done through the arm, groin, and wrist arteries. Generally, the patient does not require anesthesia. However, the doctor may administer sedatives to keep the patient relaxed. The doctor inserts the guidewire into the artery. The doctor injects the contrast dye through the catheter, which assists in the identification of the site of the blockage. The guidewire has a deflated balloon at the tip, which is inflated at the site of the blockage, thereby widening the blocked artery. The balloon is again deflated and removed. Sometimes, the patients also have the stent placed at the site of blockage to prevent re-narrowing of the artery.
  • Caring after Angioplasty: Patients should follow all the instructions of the cardiologists. They should take their medications as prescribed , avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep their weight within healthy limits, manage underlying medical conditions, such as hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, consume healthy food, and manage stress through yoga and meditation.
  • Sleeping after Angiography: The patients should preferably sleep on their backs after angioplasty. It results in appropriate spine, neck, and head alignment and reduces pressure on the chest and heart. Sometimes, the patient may have trouble getting off the bed. In such cases, extra pillows should be used.