Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Including Angioplasty and Stenting

Arteries can become blocked in nearly any part of the body, not just the heart. Over time, plaque and other debris build up in the arteries which causes them to become narrowed. This narrowing of the arteries because of the build-up of plaque, known as atherosclerosis, affects blood flow which can lead to serious cardiac complications if left untreated.

To unblock the artery, the area with the blockage must be precisely targeted. During a diagnostic procedure, known as an angiogram, a contrast dye is injected into the blood vessels. Using X-ray imaging the location and severity of the blockage is identified. Once this has been done, the angioplasty procedure can be performed to help clear the blockage.

During an angioplasty, also known as a percutaneous coronary intervention, a catheter with a small deflated balloon is inserted through the groin and threaded to the blockage. Once there, the balloon is slowly inflated pushing the plaque aside to widen the artery. A mesh tube, called a stent, may be placed in the artery to keep it open after the procedure and reduce the risk of the artery narrowing. This procedure is most effective in treating larger arteries or those with short narrowed areas, although other types of arteries can also be successfully treated with an angioplasty.

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