What is angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure used to widen, or dilate, arteries narrowed by plaque buildup. Your doctor may call this procedure balloon angioplasty, coronary artery balloon dilation, or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, called PTCA for short.

To help you understand this procedure, it helps to understand what each of the words in PTCA means. Percutaneous means through the skin. Transluminal means inside the blood vessel. Coronary means relating to the heart. Angioplasty means blood vessel repair. So PTCA translates roughly to passing a catheter through the skin into a blood vessel and up into the heart to repair damage. In other words, this procedure is done to repair damage in blood vessels that supply the heart muscle.

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