Angioplasty Procedure

Angioplasty is a medical procedure that is used to open blocked or narrowed arteries and veins to improve the flow of blood through them. Blockages can be removed in the arteries of any part of the body such as arms, legs, and heart. The condition of a blocked artery or vein is known as atherosclerosis. It is mainly caused due to an unhealthy lifestyle that leads to the building of a fatty substance called plaque in the artery. Such a lifestyle is associated with smoking, drinking, consumption of fatty food, and stress. When this condition affects the coronary arteries, it gives rise to coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease. Angioplasty is merely a procedure to treat the blockages.

The key purpose of angioplasty is to widen the narrowed arteries and improve the functioning of the heart muscles by restoring the normal blood flow. This procedure ensures that enough blood, minerals, nutrients, and oxygen can be delivered to the heart.

Angioplasty procedure is an ambulatory surgery, a kind of surgery that takes one day stay or maximum one night stay in the hospital for observation. Prior to the surgery, local anesthesia is given to the patient and then general sedation to increase the comfort level. After that cardiologists insert a catheter into the defected artery and push it within the heart muscles to make it fix at the right location. The movement of the catheter is recorded using an injected dye that helps surgeons to visualize the image through moving X-ray called fluoroscopy.

Once the position inside the artery is recorded, cardiologists inject a small amount of sterile solution. This solution when injected inflates a balloon at the tip of the catheter. This inflated balloon helps applies high pressure within the walls and expands the opening of the blocked artery. After the opening is unblocked or widened, the balloon is deflated.

The same procedure of inflating and deflating the balloon at the catheter's tip is repeated if in case a larger segment of the artery is to be widened. While widening the opening of the artery, the plaque is gets destroyed, thereby allowing normal blood circulation.

When the required opening in the artery is ensured, balloon is collapsed and removed. However, the catheter is left within the heart for next few hours to cope up with any kind of emergency situations in case of angioplasty complications.

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