Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), called angioplasty, is an interventional treatment used to clear a blockage in the heart's coronary arteries and restore healthy blood flow. A catheter including a balloon and a stent gets introduced in the arm or leg for this surgery. Through this, one of the arteries goes to the heart and guided carefully.
Why is angioplasty done?
Like every other organ or component of the body, the heart requires a constant flow of oxygen-rich blood to function correctly. The coronary arteries supply this. Cholesterol deposition occurs on the arterial walls over time due to an underlying illness, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the medical term for this illness.
Fat deposits, combined with cellular debris and other chemicals, build and solidify over time in some CAD patients, forming a plaque. This is called Atherosclerosis. If there are any blockages or other medical issues, the doctor performs Coronary Arterial Bypass Grafting (CABG) or bypass surgery. Other medical conditions that require angioplasty are:
- You had angina or chest discomfort severely and often.
- You have experienced a heart attack. In this scenario, angioplasty gets performed as an emergency procedure to unblock the blocked artery and prevent heart damage.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the narrowing of the arteries in the legs or arms.
- Veins in the chest, belly, pelvis, arms, and legs narrow or get blocked.
How is a coronary angioplasty done?
- Some health issues, such as terminally ill individuals or severe renal impairment, make coronary angioplasty ineffective.
- Only tiny parts of the heart are at risk, and the chances of having a heart attack are slim.
- There is insufficient evidence of decreased cardiac blood flow.
- Due to previous medical issues, the doctor rules out blood thinners, aspirin, or any anti-platelet medicine.
- The doctor makes a list of all the medications you are currently taking.
- You must not eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the surgery.
- Take the prescribed medications the morning of your surgery.
- Prepare for a hospital stay, as angioplasty necessitates typically two to three days in the hospital to check for concerns.
During the procedure
Balloon angioplasty gets performed under local anaesthesia and takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. It depends on the number of blockages and any difficulties encountered during the treatment.
A catheter, a small thin tube, gets placed into the artery leading to the heart in your arm or leg and directed to the heart using a Teflon or Terumo wire. Under fluoroscopic supervision, a tiny guide wire gets used to traverse the blocked region of the artery. A deflated balloon gets affixed to the tip of the balloon catheter, which gets passed through the guidewire.
The dye gets placed into the catheter tube once it reaches the site of the obstruction. This allows the clinician to see the artery more clearly.