Angioplasty is among the best treatment procedures for getting rid of blockage in arteries. The angioplasty procedure is regarded as minimally-invasive and is generally finished within a couple of hours. It’s carried out by a medical practitioner focusing on interventional cardiology, such as Dr. Tiblier.
Who Needs Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a procedure recommended to individuals who have heart conditions such as atherosclerosis. High cholesterol levels (particularly low-density lipoproteins – the “bad” cholesterol) and fat in the blood stream can occasionally make them build-up and solidify to form plaque within the arterial walls. This can trigger the arteries to become rigid and much less flexible, a common condition medically referred to as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can restrict the flow of blood causing angina (chest discomfort) and when neglected, a clot might form which results in a heart attack.
A candidate for angioplasty will need to undergo a number of tests including X-ray, urinalysis, blood tests and also an electrocardiogram. Not all individuals with coronary angiogram may have angioplasty – there are numerous factors which could render the procedure inappropriate, including if the blockage happens in naturally narrow areas or if too many blocked vessels branch off of the artery. In cases such as these, more invasive alternative methods like a coronary artery bypass procedure will be recommended.
What Happens During the Angioplasty Procedure?
The angioplasty procedure is geared towards opening up blocked arteries to allow easier and more normal blood circulation. It opens a narrowed artery by placing a tube (known as the catheter) at the narrowed point. A balloon is set at the end of the tube, which is then filled to push apart the arterial walls to the outside. This action leads to the temporary widening of the narrowed artery and can also break up and grind the plaque build-up. The balloon is then taken out and to keep the site open, a coronary stent is positioned and stays there permanently to hold the artery wide open and restore blood circulation.
Based on the severity and the number of blocks, the whole procedure can last about 2 hours. Patients are often given sedatives in order to relax. Fluids and medications are often given through an IV injection, and local anaesthetic is provided. An X-ray photograph can be used all throughout the procedure to make it possible for the cardiologist to view and guide the motion of the catheter.
Preparation and Post-Procedure Care
Patients will be told not to drink or eat for at least 4 hours prior to the procedure. You will also be provided with aspirin and anti-coagulant medications a couple of days before. You will be awake the whole time.
After the angioplasty procedure is completed, you should expect to lay flat for a minimum of 6 hours. You will also be instructed to take platelet-blocking medicines to prevent blood clotting near the inserted stent. For the next couple of days, you’ll be strictly advised to take it easy, and steadily ease back to your normal activities.