Angioplasty is one of the most prevalent methods for treating patients with a blocked or narrow coronary artery. Wondering why or how you get a blocked artery? It gets blocked mainly due to plaque build-up.
How Does The Artery Get Blocked?
Many people have cholesterol plaques developing in their arteries for years owing to smoking, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. The plaque is a waxy substance that keeps growing inside the artery and gradually hardens. This narrows the artery and makes blood flow difficult. Gradually, you experience chest pain or angina. The plaque at times gets ruptured and a blood clot forms on the surface blocking the artery completely. If the blockage is formed in the head, you get a stroke and if it’s the heart, then a heart attack.
Balloon Angioplasty, What Is That?
Angioplasty helps in creating a way through the plaque so that blood flow can be restored. The procedure is carried out in a catheterization laboratory rather than an operating theatre. The laboratory has an X-ray video which allows the doctor to monitor the entire process.
- A small incision is made on your groin or arm near the affected artery. A small tube called sheath is inserted through the artery to keep it open.
- A catheter will be inserted through the sheath into the affected artery.
- Then, a flexible and thin wire with a balloon at the end is passed through the sheath.
- The progress of the balloon through the tube is monitored by the doctor on the X-ray video.
- When the balloon reaches the affected part it is inflated for 20 to 30 seconds. This smashes the plaque inside the artery walls and widens it.
- You may experience some pain while the balloon is being inflated against the completely blocked artery. But that is normal and there is nothing to worry about. The pain goes away once the balloon is deflated.
Keeping The Artery Open
A stent is used in many cases to keep the artery open and let the blood flow freely. It reduces the chances of a heart attack and helps in keeping you healthy.
- It is usually fixed at the end of the balloon while it is being inserted in the artery.
- When the balloon inflates the stent expands and as it deflates the stent gets locked in position.
- The function of the stent is to prevent the artery from closing again.
- Before bringing out the catheter, balloon, wire, and sheath, the doctor checks again to see if the artery has been opened wide enough.
- Any bleeding from the incision is stopped with pressure or a dissolvable plug.
- A patient will need to stay overnight at the hospital. However many leave on the same day if there are no major complications. Sufficient rest at home is necessary after being discharged.
Necessary Lifestyle Changes
Angioplasty and stents by cardiologists in Huntington Beach can last a lifetime, but the necessary lifestyle changes have to be made urgently. A healthy diet with adequate physical exercise is necessary. Smoking and stress should be avoided. You should undergo treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol.