Stents & Cardiac Intervention
What is coronary angioplasty and cardiac stenting?
Coronary angioplasty and stenting are procedures that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. In this procedure, your doctor will widen your blocked artery with a balloon (angioplasty) and insert a small, wire mesh tube (stent).
Why have a coronary stenting procedure?
Insertion of a cardiac stent helps to widen the blocked artery and improve blood flow, which should reduce or eliminate symptoms of chest pain and / or shortness of breath. The stent helps prop the artery open, decreasing its chance of narrowing again.
What happens during coronary angioplasty and stenting?
Angioplasty is performed by a heart specialist (cardiologist) and a team of specialized cardiovascular nurses and technicians in a special operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory.
Angioplasty is performed through an artery in your groin, arm, or wrist area. General anaesthesia is not needed. You will receive a sedative to help you relax, but you may be awake during the procedure depending on how deeply you are sedated.
A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area where a very small incision will be made. A small, thin guidewire is then inserted in the blood vessel. With the help of live X-rays, a thin tube (catheter) will be threaded in through your artery which will have contrast dye injected into it. The contrast dye allows your doctor to see the inside of your blood vessels and identify the blockage on X-ray images called angiograms.
A small balloon with or without a stent at the tip of the catheter is inflated at the site of the blockage, widening the blocked artery. After the artery is stretched, the balloon is deflated, and the catheter is removed. If you are having a stent placed, the stent will be collapsed around the balloon so that when the balloon inflates, the stent expands and locks into place. The stent remains in the artery to hold it open once the balloon has been deflated and removed from the artery.
Are there any risks involved?
Although angioplasty is a less invasive way to open clogged arteries than bypass surgery is, the procedure still carries some risks.
The most common angioplasty risks include:
Other rare risks of angioplasty include:
Will the stent fix my arteries?
Having angioplasty and stenting does not mean your heart disease goes away. You will need to continue healthy lifestyle habits and take medications as prescribed by your doctor.
To keep your heart healthy after angioplasty, you should:
Is a stent always the answer to blocked arteries?
Depending on the extent of your heart disease and your overall health, we may determine that coronary artery bypass surgery is a better option than angioplasty for you.
You may need coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) if:
In coronary artery bypass surgery, the blocked part of your artery is bypassed using a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body.