Angioplasty is a specialised procedure performed in a Cath lab (cardiac catheterisation laboratory). Since the patients are awake and alert through the procedure, they are given medication before and during angioplasty procedure to help relax
The procedure begins by inserting a sheath into a blood vessel, usually in the upper leg, groin or arm. A hollow tube termed catheter is pushed through this sheath into the mouth of the coronary artery. Through this catheter another small balloon catheter is deployed into the coronary arteries.
Once the balloon is at the blocked or narrowed area in the artery, it is inflated to widen the pathway. In most cases the inflation lasts from 30 seconds upto several minutes, depending upon the nature of the blockage. The inflation of the balloon may cause chest pain in some patients, similar to angina. This happens because the balloon temporarily blocks the flow of blood and oxygen that it carries to the heart. If such pain is experienced, the patient should report the same to the doctor.
Nowadays, a stent is crimped on the balloon and is positioned at the site of obstruction. A stent is an expandable mesh tube. It is implanted to support and widen the artery and keep the vessel open for continuous blood flow. After the block has been opened the balloon is deflated and retracted back through the blood vessel. Stent implant is a permanent one.
What are the advantages of placing a stent?
Stent prevents acute vessel closure, means the sudden collapse of the narrowed artery after the balloon has opened it.
It also reduces restenosis, recurrence of blocks after balloon angioplasty
Can I be back to my routine after the procedure?
You would be kept under observation for 2-3 days. Once home, one can resume full activity within couple of days. Angioplasty is not a cure, but a treatment to reduce the effects of Coronary Artery Disease. Following angioplasty, diet and medications have to be strictly followed to reduce the risk of recurrence. Your health relies on the lifestyle you choose.
Coronary angiography is an imaging technique or a radiological test that helps visualize the insides of the coronary arteries. It shows the exact location and severity of any plaque formation and consequent narrowing of the coronary arteries. This helps the doctor to decide on what treatment is needed.
Our heart is located in our chest cavity and is a pump made of special muscles known as myocardium. Our heart is divided into four chambers; two upper chambers known as auricles (atria) and two lower chambers are known as ventricles. They are interconnected by a passage and the opening and closing is controlled by valves.
Arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels form the vascular system of our body and vascular surgery is a specialty dealing with diseases affecting the vascular system The diseases affecting our vascular system involve the obstruction in the blood flow due to blockages (aneurysms) in the vessels.
The rhythmicity of the heart beat is based on the electric impulses. These impulses are initiated by the contraction of the cardiac muscles also known as myocardium.
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a type of surgery that improves blood flow to the heart. Surgeons use CABG to treat people who have severe coronary heart disease (CHD). Symptoms of coronary artery disease include chest pain, fatigue, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms and shortness of breath.
A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is an opening or hole in the wall that separates the two lower chambers of the heart. This wall is the ventricular septum. The hole causes oxygen-rich blood to leak from the left side of the heart to the right side.
The upper chambers of the heart are divided a wall called “interatrial septum”. The defect in this wall is known as Atrial septal defect (ASD). It is a form of a congenital heart defect, the defect the baby is born with.