Angioplasty is one of the most common medical procedures used to treat narrowed or blocked arteries around the heart. Arteries can become blocked when there is a buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances (otherwise known as plaque). Over time, this plaque buildup narrows or even blocks the arteries, limiting blood flow.
Tampa General Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute is home to a wide range of cardiac and vascular specialists that skillfully complete angioplasty procedures for patients. This procedure can widen arteries to restore blood flow to affected areas.
Angioplasty can treat a range of heart and vascular diseases, such as:
- Atherosclerosis, a condition that causes plaque to build up in the arteries
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- Arteriovenous fistulas
- Arteriovenous grafts
Here’s what to expect from an angioplasty procedure:
- A small puncture will be made in an artery of the arm or leg to insert a catheter. In most cases, the catheter will have a balloon at its tip as well as an expandable piece of metal mesh known as a stent.
- The catheter will move through the artery until it reaches the blockage.
- Once the catheter is correctly in place, the balloon will inflate to push the plaque that is causing the blockage up against the artery walls. The stent will also open up at this time.
- After that, the balloon will deflate. The balloon and catheter will be removed from the artery while the stent stays permanently in place to keep the artery open and reduce the possibility of it narrowing again.
What to Expect
Angioplasty is minimally invasive and most patients can go home the same day of the procedure, although some patients may require an overnight visit. What’s more, recovery is easier than other surgical procedures with most people able to resume their normal activities within a week. The best benefit of angioplasty, though, is symptom relief, especially chest pain and shortness of breath.
Complications from an angioplasty procedure are rare, but may include:
- Bleeding from the place the catheter was inserted
- Blood clots
- Damage to the artery or other blood vessels
- Chest pain
The skilled cardiovascular surgeons at TGH are committed to delivering world-class treatment that emphasizes excellent outcomes and individualized patient care. Our angioplasty procedures are highly effective and use advanced technology to help restore blood flow in the arteries and relieve uncomfortable symptoms. After the procedure, your cardiologist will likely talk in-depth about lifestyle changes to ensure this condition does not occur again, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly and lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.