Angioplasty is a procedure done to open a partially blocked blood vessel so that blood
can flow through it more easily. It is most often done on arteries that deliver blood
to the heart (coronary arteries) when they are narrowed by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis)
or blood clots.
During the angioplasty procedure, a thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through
an artery in the groin, arm, or wrist and is carefully guided into the artery that
is narrowed. After the tube reaches the narrowed artery, a small balloon at the end
of the tube is inflated. The balloon may remain inflated for a short time. The pressure
from the inflated balloon presses fat and calcium deposits (plaque) against the wall
of the artery to improve blood flow.
After the fat and calcium buildup is compressed, a small, expandable tube called a
stent is sometimes inserted into the artery to hold it open. The artery is less likely
to get narrow again (restenosis) after angioplasty with stenting than after angioplasty
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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