A majority of coronary angioplasty and related procedures are done to treat severe symptoms such as severe and worsening chest pain – and especially the pain that gets worse with stress, exertion or exercise. These symptoms are majorly due to a life-threatening condition such as unstable angina or a heart attack.

Angioplasty in simple terms is lifesaving, quality of life improving and mortality reducing procedure for millions of people across the globe.

When is coronary angioplasty required?

Angioplasty can improve symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. Angioplasty is also often used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to your heart.

Why you need a stent for angioplasty?

A stent is a small wire mesh. It is placed during angioplasty procedure to help the artery prop open and prevent the artery from narrowing again by holding the artery in its place. The stent supports the walls of your artery. After the placement of a stent, the chances of artery narrowing again are very less. Drug-eluting stents are mostly used. They help in preventing future plaque build-up and re-narrowing of the artery.

Is coronary angioplasty a permanent solution for coronary artery disease (CAD)?

Coronary angioplasty makes you feel better as your chest pain and other symptoms go away and you will feel better. But it doesn’t mean that your heart disease has gone. To ensure long-term benefits after angioplasty, you should make lifestyle changes as suggested by your doctor and take your medicines regularly.

Why is coronary Angioplasty Done?

Angioplasty is recommended when a person has developed atherosclerosis [fatty deposits consisting of cholesterol (plaque)]. It is the standard treatment for heart disease if lifestyle measures have failed to improve chest pain, breathing difficulty and didn’t improve heart health. Angioplasty is also beneficial in relieving the symptoms associated with worsening angina.

In emergency medical conditions – such as heart attacks angioplasty is recommended to quickly open blocked artery and reduce damage to the heart.

Is coronary angioplasty always a better option compared to bypass surgery?

Angioplasty is not suitable for everyone. It is recommended based upon the extent of heart disease, associated comorbid conditions and overall health status of the individual. Angioplasty may not be recommended if the heart muscle is weak and if a person has diabetes with multiple severe blockages in the arteries. In such cases, bypass surgery may be recommended. Whatever may be the case, your cardiologist will decide which procedure is best for you depending on your overall health and extent of heart disease.

Is angioplasty done only for the heart?

No, it is done for opening up blockages in several blood vessels throughout the body. When it is done for the coronary artery of the heart, then it is known as coronary angioplasty. If it is done in the carotid artery of the neck, then it is known as carotid artery angioplasty.

What are the benefits of a coronary angioplasty?

Those who have angina which is progressively worsening angioplasty and stenting can help restore blood flow to the heart – owing to which chest pain eases and symptoms improve as early as 30 minutes of the procedure. After complete recovery walking and exercise do not cause any breathing problems. Those who have experienced a heart attack prior to undergoing angioplasty, their risk of having a second heart attack will be lower than before.