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Angioplasty - Overview

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Everything You Need to Know About The Angioplasty Procedure

Heading into an angioplasty, either planned or unplanned, can be stressful and daunting, but learning all about the procedure beforehand may help put your mind at ease. In this guide you will find information about what is the angioplasty procedure, how it is performed, the various types of angioplasties and all about recovery.

What is an angioplasty?

An angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to widen blood vessels, typically arteries, that have become narrow or obstructed due to plaque build-up (a condition called atherosclerosis). During the procedure, the consultant vascular surgeon will clear the artery using a balloon or a stent to allow blood to flow properly again.

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When Is an Angioplasty Performed?

The angioplasty procedure is performed when other treatments for atherosclerosis have not worked. Atherosclerosis is a condition that affects various arteries in the body and, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, stroke or arterial disease. There are different types of angioplasties, depending on the area of the body that needs to be treated. Some of the common types of angioplasty include:

  • Coronary angioplasty or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA):

This is the most common type of angioplasty and is performed on the coronary arteries of the heart. The procedure is sometimes performed in an emergency when someone suffers from a heart attack. A balloon catheter is used to open up narrowed or blocked arteries due to atherosclerosis. In many cases, a stent (a small, expandable metal tube)is also placed during the procedure to help keep the artery open. This is called a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

  • Peripheral angioplasty:

This procedure is used to open narrowed or blocked arteries in the peripheral areas of the body, such as the legs, arms or pelvis. The procedure is performed to improve blood flow to these areas and alleviate symptoms caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD).

  • Renal angioplasty:

This type of angioplasty is performed to open blocked or narrowed arteries that supply blood to the kidneys affected by conditions like renal artery stenosis.

  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS):

This procedure is often done to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with significant carotid artery narrowing.

  • Cerebral angioplasty:

This procedure involves opening narrowed or blocked blood vessels in the brain. It's used to treat conditions such as intracranial atherosclerosis or other cerebrovascular diseases.

  • Aortic angioplasty:

Aortic angioplasty is performed to address narrowing or blockages in the aorta, the largest artery in the body. This procedure may be necessary in cases where the aorta is affected by conditions like atherosclerosis or other abnormalities.


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