Understanding Angioplasty along with the Advantages and Disadvantages


Angioplasty and also stenting can offer options that are life-saving and also life-enhancing. You can get severe health complications with a blocked artery. Over a period of time, it has been proved that angioplasty can help stroke, heart attack, or even gangrene.

This also improves the quality of life as this reduces the symptoms of angina and other `problems. But, just like other medical procedures, angioplasty and stenting have their own set of risks and benefits. Before deciding on angioplasty it is important to gather all the information on this.

Benefits of Stenting and Angioplasty

Blocked arteries are treated with angioplasty and the benefits offered are

  1. Reduces the risk of stroke
  2. Reduce the damage to the heart muscle and can save your life as this can restore the flow of blood to the heart.
  3. Improves the kidney function
  4. Relieves symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and helps you function normally.
  5. Restores the blood flow to the legs preventing gangrene and eliminates the possible need for amputation.

Minimally Invasive

It is not necessary to choose surgery for widening the blood vessel. This angioplasty procedure involves a narrow tube, the cardiac catheter, into a blood vessel near the wrist or in the groin. A balloon is guided with this catheter to the point where the blood vessel has narrowed. The balloon is inflated and this expands the blood vessel. Once this is done, the balloon is deflated and removed from the blood vessel.

Placing Stent

As there is a fear of the blood vessel narrowing again, most often, the specialists place a stent. This is a small tube made of plastic or metal. This is inserted to hold the blood vessel open on a permanent basis.

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Less Painful as compared to Bypass

Angioplasty is less painful as the area where the catheter is inserted is numbed. All you feel is a little pressure. You are awake during the procedure. You might be given some medication to help you relax. After angioplasty, the area of the insertion might be a little painful due to the bruise. In case of any swelling or bleeding the doctor needs to be informed.

How to Prepare for Angioplasty?

Before taking you for angioplasty, the doctor advises on an x-ray, cardiogram, and different blood tests. You will need to fast for around 6 to 8 hours before the procedure. The doctor needs to be informed about the different medications you have been taking.

This procedure of angioplasty is carried out by a cardiologist along with a specialized team.

After the Procedure

After the catheter is removed, the pressure is applied to the blood vessel to stop the bleeding. If this procedure was done through the groin, you will need to lie down still for a couple of hours, and you are monitored for any type of bleeding or chest pain. Patients have to stay in the hospital overnight. Most of the patients have to take aspirin continuously after the placement of a stent. This can minimize the risk of any blood clots formation in the stent.

Bypass Surgery is an Alternative to Angioplasty:

There is a possibility of a heart attack if you have arthrosclerosis. The prognosis of patients can improve with angioplasty. This can also bring down the risk of a heart attack and avoid open heart surgery. In this CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) blood vessels from any other part of the body are used for repairing the damaged artery. This can create a different route for the blood to flow around the arteries that are damaged.

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This bypass surgery can lead to different complications like infection, blood clots, and arrhythmia, bleeding stroke, memory loss, or even a heart attack.

Life-Style after Angioplasty

You need to remember that after angioplasty, you need to take it easy. You should not get into any activity that is strenuous and avoid lifting any heavy items. You will be able to exercise better and you are more relaxed now if you were suffering from angina. It is important to remember taking your medication as angioplasty does not free you from heart disease. Here are some tips to ensure good health after angioplasty.

  1. a) Quit Smoking
  2. b) Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. c) Get your blood pressure checked.
  4. d) Ensure your diabetes is well under control.
  5. e) Cholesterol levels need to be monitored.

You need to ensure you go for the scheduled follow-ups and check-ups with your doctor. Seek medical attention in case you experience any chest pain or shortness of breath. Angioplasty has a success rate of 90 to 95%. There are few chances of a patient getting a heart attack during the procedure.

For sure, you will experience a better quality of life as the heart is getting all the oxygen it needs. Angioplasty does not reverse or prevent atherosclerosis.