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Peripheral artery angioplasty (say "puh-RIFF-er-rull AR-ter-ree ANN-jee-oh-plass-tee") is a procedure to help blood flow better. The procedure widens or opens narrowed blocked arteries, typically in the pelvis or legs. This may help with pain or help wounds heal better.
Your arteries can get narrowed by a substance called plaque. Plaque is a buildup of fats in your arteries.
You may be awake for the procedure. You will get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax (anesthesia). First, your doctor will do a test to find narrowed arteries. They will put a tiny tube into an artery in your groin or leg. This tube is called a catheter. The doctor moves the catheter through the artery and puts a dye into it. The dye makes your arteries show up on X-ray pictures. This lets the doctor see any narrowed parts of the arteries.
If your doctor finds a narrowed artery, they may do an angioplasty. To do this, the doctor uses a catheter with a balloon at the tip. It goes into the artery in your groin or leg. They move the balloon to the narrowed area and inflate it. The balloon presses the plaque against the walls of the artery. This makes more room for blood to flow. The doctor may also put a stent in your artery. A stent is a small tube that helps keep the artery open. It can also keep small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing problems.
You may need to spend the night in the hospital. Then you will need to take it easy at home 1 or 2 days after the procedure.
Have a responsible adult take you home (do not drive yourself). If you live out of town, it’s a good idea for you to stay somewhere overnight within 1 hour of an emergency care hospital. Don’t drive for the next 24 to 48 hours or while you’re taking strong pain medicine.
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 or nurse call line 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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Adaptation Date: 3/24/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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