Coronary Angioplasty Procedure

Overview

Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure which opens blocked coronary arteries in patients, and restores blood flow into the heart.
Clogged arteries result from plaque build-up overtime on the inner artery walls. The hardened arteries are not able to dilate to their full capacity to let the blood flow through. This can result in a condition called Coronary Atherosclerosis, which can lead to chest pain also known as angina, a stroke or heart failure.

What is the procedure for angioplasty?

The Angioplasty procedure is performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory, or a “cath lab” in a hospital.

Before the procedure the heart doctor or cardiologist, will review your medical history in detail to find out the risks involved, if any. Once this procedure is deemed safe for you, you will be given an appointment along with some instructions you need to follow prior to the procedure.

The Procedure

At the outset, a local anesthetic will be injected onto your upper leg or arm.
If the upper leg is chosen, the doctor will insert a thin tube called catheter through the femoral artery, a blood vessel in the spot where your leg bends at the hip.  If the wrist, is chosen the doctor will insert the catheter through the radial artery.

The catheter is guided through the arteries into the blocked area of the heart, more specifically into the blocked part of the coronary artery. As arteries have no nerve endings, you will not feel anything while the catheter is being inserted through the artery.

Once the catheter is in place in the blocked area, the doctor injects a special dye (also called radiographic contrast agent) through the catheter into the heart. This special dye shows the blockages prominently in an x-ray camera which keeps projecting the live images of the arteries onto a monitor. The doctor then inserts a wire with an attached deflated balloon through the catheter, into the blocked area.  The balloon is then inflated and deflated a number of times, which forces open the blocked area, as the plaque is pushed against the walls of the artery. The wire with the balloon is then pulled out and the blood flow through the artery returns to normal.

Post the procedure described above, depending on the severity of your condition, a stent may be placed in the blocked area of the artery by the doctor, so that the area remains open and blood can flow through with ease. The stent is like a wire mesh tube, made of metal, which is placed above the deflated balloon. Once the balloon is inflated, the stent expands with it and positions itself permanently in the artery and keeps it open at all times. Stents may be placed in multiple locations depending on the number of blocked arteries. The stents remain for life in the arteries.

Please Note: Angioplasty with stenting is commonly recommended by doctors for patients who have one or two blocked coronary arteries.

Are there any side effects/complications of angioplasty ?

Though angioplasty drastically reduces the possibility of heart attack and is the most minimally invasive heart procedure for removing blocks in the coronary arteries, yet this procedure has some risks involved.

  • 35 % - 45% of the people who have undergone this procedure experience recurrent narrowing of arteries in the areas where the balloons were inserted. Stents can be placed to prevent the blocks from recurring.

  • There is the risk of coronary artery damage during this procedure

  • Though extremely rare there are chances of a stroke happening during the procedure

  • Kidney damage may result due to the dye used during the procedure. The doctor usually uses a very limited amount of dye if you have a history of kidney problems and also makes sure you are well hydrated during the procedure.

  • Though rare, heavy bleeding may occur sometimes when the catheter is inserted and you may require blood transfusion

  • There is risk of blood clots or scar tissue forming in the stent.

  • During the procedure you may experience irregular heart rhythm, which usually corrects itself after the procedure is complete

  • There may be side effects from the medicines you need to take after the procedure

Who is not eligible for angioplasty?

You are not eligible for angioplasty if:

  • you have diabetes

  • you have multiple blockages in your heart

  • your heart muscle is weak

  • the main artery which brings the blood into your heart is too narrow

Are there any post-treatment guidelines after angioplasty?

After undergoing an angioplasty procedure you need to take care of the following factors:

  • You need to take your medicines religiously, especially the medicines given for anti-clotting. Do not stop taking the anti-clotting and anti-platelet medicines without consulting your doctor. They are highly essential to keep strokes and heart attacks at bay.

  • One week after the procedure you need to go for a general physical check-up, get an ECG done, get your blood pressure checked and undergo some laboratory tests.

  • You should avoid any strenuous work or lifting any object heavier than 6 kgs for atleast 4 weeks after the procedure

  • Avoid any strenuous exercises, including hiking, bicycle rides for about two weeks after the procedure

  • You need to avoid driving and taking long drives for two weeks after the procedure

  • You need to report to the doctor immediately if you experience pain in the chest or in the leg or wrist, allergic reaction to medications, experience dizziness and weakness, shivering, fever, and chills

  • You can opt for a cardiac rehabilitation programme offered in many major hospitals of India. Cardiac rehabilitation programmes can be of twelve weeks which include monitored exercises 3 to four times a week.

  • Changing to a healthy diet post the procedure and inculcating healthy lifestyle changes which include avoiding smoking and drinking can work wonders in preventing and deven reversing coronary disorders.

How long will it take to recover from an angioplasty procedure?

You can return to normal activities after around 4 days of surgery although, you should avoid any strenuous work or lifting any object heavier than 6 kgs for atleast 4 weeks after the procedure. You also need to avoid driving, long drives, strenuous exercises such as swimming and hiking for atleast 4 weeks after the procedure.

Depending on the doctor’s advice you can resume sexual activities after around 4 days of the procedure.

What is the price of angioplasty in India?

The cost of angioplasty can range anywhere between 1.8 lakhs to 2 lakhs in India.

Are the results of angioplasty permanent?

Angioplasty can prevent heart attacks or strokes for a long period of time, however some people do experience recurring narrow arteries again. If this procedure is coupled with healthy lifestyle changes then the results can be permanent.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Angioplasty ?

Patient Experiences

Mr. Shrikant Chavan
Cardiac Rehabilitation After Angioplasty
Dr. Rahul Gupta Sir gave positive way to my life. After my angioplasty I was bit depressed with lot many questions in mind as I was a newly married guy.Rahul sir consulted me in a ... Read More
Doctor in this story :Dr. Rahul Gupta
Cardium Advanced Heart Care Clinic, Navi Mumbai
Pranay Pant
Rajinder Siwath
I have come all the way from Rohtak for my treatment of heart attack. Initially I was very apprehensive in going to Fortis, but one meeting with Dr Chandra and his secretary Sapna ... Read More
Doctor in this story :Dr. Nishith Chandra
Fortis Escorts, Delhi
Rajesh Shirke
Blocked Heart Vessel Opened After Angiography
I got my father's angiography done elsewhere and went to Dr Munjewar for angioplasty. He did a fantastic job and completely opened a blocked heart blood vessel. Very happy with his... Read More
Doctor in this story :Dr. Chandrashekhar Munjewar
Apollo Clinic, Mumbai

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User

My father aged 73 years went under

,

angioplasty 12 months back at Ruby hospital pune. Two stents were put. But now again he has developed blockage in two arteries, doctor is saying that again angioplasty should be done, i want to know what would be the right diagnosis for him

Dr. Hithysh BM
General Physician, Bangalore

Hello differential diagnosis like coronary artery disease Atherosclerosis of coronary arteries Coronary steel phenomenon Tripple vessel disease should be ruled out if angioplasty not possible then undergoing bypass surgery is a good option consult cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment.

Verified User

I have undergone angioplasty on two occasions in 2007 and Jan 2015. I have four stents. A recent TMT test in a clinic is positive and the doctor has recommended angiogram to know the block. My dilemma is if there is a block, should I go for angioplasty or bypass ?

Venkat Raghav
General Physician, Bangalore

Hey, requirement of bypass surgery is rare , most of time angioplasty is done for minor blockage,your history suggestive of minor blockage ,consult cardiologist since I cannot tell exact way intervention with this history

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