Angioplasty produces successful results in 9 out of every 10 people who have it. The procedure opens their arteries and lets blood flow more easily to their hearts. The procedure does have some risk.
What are the risks of angioplasty?
While the balloon is inflated, the blood supply to part of the heart is restricted. This can cause a heart attack. However, less than 5% of the people who have angioplasty have a heart attack during it. While a heart attack can be fatal, not all of them are. And under these controlled conditions, the medical team can respond quickly. A very small percentage of patients who have angioplasty also need emergency bypass surgery. This can happen when the angioplasty fails to open the blocked artery.
Are there complications after an angioplasty?
A common complication is that the opened arteries become narrow again. This process is called restenosis. Stents placed inside arteries can help reduce this problem. But it still happens in as many as 3 out of every 10 patients. These patients need repeat angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery within 6 months.
What should I ask my doctor before I have an angioplasty?
Before you agree to have angioplasty done, talk with your doctor. Be sure you understand everything that's involved. You and your doctor need to decide together whether you should have angioplasty. If you have trouble understanding what your doctor is saying, consider asking someone in your family to go with you. They can ask your doctor the questions and then explain the answers to you. In addition, you should always consider a second opinion when your doctor recommends an invasive procedure.