A Simple Explanation
A medical procedure, also called Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), to widen blocked or narrowed Coronary arteries and insertion of stents to allow for free blood flow.
What is Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting?
Coronary Angioplasty, or Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty, is a therapeutic procedure performed to treat stenotic coronary arteries of the heart. These stenotic segments of the arteries are due to the plaque build up of cholesterol.
This procedure helps in opening up blocked arteries and restoring normal blood flow to the heart muscle.
Stenting is basically the implantation of stents, small mesh-tubes at the site of blockage in arteries to allow for smooth blood flow.
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), the combination of the Coronary Angioplasty and stenting, is usually performed with the patient under local anaesthetic. A thin, flexible tube called Catheter with a deflated balloon at its end is inserted through the artery either in the groin, wrist or arm areas and then guided to the blocked part of the artery using X-Ray video.
Once the catheter is positioned at the blocked part of the blood vessel, the balloon is then inflated to widen the blood vessel slowly and then a stent is placed to hold up the walls.
Who needs it?
- Patients with blockages in their coronary arteries
- Patients with chest discomfort
- Patients with risk of heart attacks, due to the blockages.
- Improved blood flow through the coronary arteries
- The patient is able to do perform more activities than before the procedure.
- Improves the chances of not having a heart attack in the future.
- Restenosis or the re-narrowing of the artery. Bare-metal stents reduce this to 15% while drug-induced ones to 10%.
- Blood clots can form within the stents after the procedure, causing a heart attack. Medications like aspirin will have to be administered to reduce the risk of blood clots
- Bleeding at the catheter insertion site.
- Heart attacks, strokes and abnormal heart rhythms.
- Kidney problems from the dye used during angioplasty.
- Damage to the coronary artery.
- The patient will have to go without food and water for nearly 8 hours prior to the procedure.
- Inform your doctor of your past allergies, and any other ailments (including diabetes), if any.
- Please consult with your doctor regarding the medications you are taking for any of your ailments.
- Coronary Angiogram test will be conducted to confirm the blockage.
- There might be a small bruising at the catheter entry point; it is common and nothing to be worried about.
- Before you are discharged, you will be given instructions to be followed at your home.
- In order to prevent bleeding, the puncture point might have pressure applied. This pressure will be removed after sometime.
- The patient will be checked regularly for bleeding or swelling.
- Patients are monitored for 24 hours, depending on your condition as well as what your doctor suggests.