Category: 

What is Angioplasty?

During a balloon angioplasty, a metal stent is put in place to prevent blockage and increase blood flow.
Angioplasty is used to expand arteries that have become narrowed or blocked.
Angioplasty is performed through a small incision in the femoral artery.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jane Harmon
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Shrek was the first movie to win an Oscar for best animated feature film.  more...

November 1 ,  1952 :  The US exploded the world's first hydrogen bomb.  more...

Angioplasty is a method of expanded arteries that have become blocked, typically arteries leading to the heart, in which case the procedure is called coronary angioplasty. Arteries can become blocked for a number of reasons, the most common of which is atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the accumulation of plaques in the arteries. Once commonly known as 'hardening of the arteries', this condition is influenced by lifestyle factors under your control, including smoking and high-fat diet, as well as factors outside your control, such as genetics and environmental factors.

Angina, a pain in the chest indicative of a lack of oxygen flow to the heart, is a warning sign of narrowing or blocked arteries. If diet and medication do not control angina, your doctor will probably recommend a balloon angioplasty. Angioplasty has become quite common and relatively safe, and is far less intrusive than the open-chest operations that preceded it.

Ad

In a balloon angioplasty, a wire is inserted into a large artery in the leg or arm and threaded to the area that is blocked. Then a balloon catheter is guided up the wire and positioned in the blocked area. The balloon is then inflated to expand the walls of the artery and relieve the blockage. In some cases, a simple balloon angioplasty isn't sufficient, for example if the walls of the artery are not strong enough to hold the shape effected by the inflated balloon. In this case, the angioplasty would also position a stent, a wire mesh that inflates with the balloon, but is left behind when the balloon is withdrawn to support the artery walls.

Not all blockages are coronary, of course, and angioplasty isn't confined to arteries leading to the heart. Many people have artery blockages in their arms or legs, conditions that can lead to uncomfortable edema, or swelling in the hands or feet, as fluids accumulate in the extremities due to poor circulation. In these cases, the technique is known as peripheral angioplasty.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon35820
Post 3

what is the most common angioplasty after care? Does the patient have to stay down for a week?

anon21274
Post 2

My mother-in-law underwent Angioplasty on September 23rd 2003, can she travel in bus overnight???

anon18405
Post 1

i have got pain in my right leg this is mainly around my shin area of the leg,and i have also noticed a slight reddish skin colour like a rash just above the ankle at the bottom of my leg, i am concerned that this could be some sort of poor circulation problem could you help please, also i do have ostio arthritis in both knee joints, the leg pain was continuous for about a week but has abated now.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email