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Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked or narrow coronary artery. This is the blood vessel that gives oxygen to the heart. The procedure helps to restore blood flow to the heart. This can relieve angina symptoms such as chest pain or pressure. Angioplasty also may help prevent a heart attack.
Angioplasty can also be done during or after a heart attack. This can help prevent heart problems. It may also be called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
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 arm. The doctor moves the catheter through that artery to the arteries on the outside of the heart. 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 stay 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: December 16, 2019
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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