How is angioplasty done?

An angioplasty is usually done right after a diagnostic test called a cardiac catheterization. If the cardiac catheterization shows that you have a blocked artery, your doctor may do an angioplasty right then to open up space for blood to flow through your blocked vessel.

Doctors often recommend this procedure for people who have chest pain that isn't helped by medicines or when other tests suggest a problem or have not shown a specific problem. Both cardiac catheterization and angioplasty take place in the hospital. The entire procedure takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours, from start to finish.


So angioplasty always starts with the first step - cardiac catheterization.

How will my doctor do the angioplasty?

To perform an angioplasty, the doctor guides a second, smaller catheter through the first one that was put in during the cardiac catheterization to the area that has the blockage.

This second catheter has a tiny, deflated balloon. When it reaches the spot where the artery has been narrowed, your doctor inflates the balloon. He or she keeps it inflated a few seconds to a few minutes. The balloon pushes against the plaque in the artery walls. This compresses the plaque and widens the artery. Both of these things allow more blood to flow. After the balloon has done its job, the doctor deflates it and removes both catheters.

What to expect after the procedure. After the procedure, your healthcare team will observe you for several hours. If you have no complications, you will be able to go home within 1 to 3 days.


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