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Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked or narrow coronary artery. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the heart muscle. It may also be called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
Angioplasty helps blood flow more normally to the heart muscle. If you have coronary artery disease, it may be done to relieve angina symptoms such as chest pain or pressure. Angioplasty can also be done during or after a heart attack. As a treatment for a heart attack, it may also prevent heart problems.
Before an angioplasty, a doctor does a coronary angiogram. This finds narrowed or blocked arteries. The doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into an artery in your upper leg (groin) or wrist. The doctor moves the catheter through that artery to the coronary arteries. The doctor then uses dye to see any arteries that are blocked or narrowed.
If you have a blocked or narrow artery, a tiny balloon is moved through the catheter. It is used to open the artery. The doctor can also use the balloon to place a stent in the artery to keep it open.
The procedure may take 30 to 90 minutes. But you need time to get ready for it and time to recover. It can take several hours total. You may go home the same day. Or you may stay at least 1 night in the hospital.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: April 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & John A. McPherson MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
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