Balloon Coronary Angioplasty
Balloon coronary angioplasty (sometimes called percutaneous coronary intervention) is a procedure to widen or unblock an artery using a small inflatable balloon.
Having a balloon angioplasty to widen or unblock an artery should improve the flow of blood without you having to have open heart surgery. This procedure may also improve your breathing if blocked or narrowed arteries are causing you to be short of breath. Sometimes it can be used to treat an artery during or soon after a heart attack or to reduce the risk of you having another heart attack.
What happens during balloon coronary angioplasty?
A balloon coronary angioplasty usually takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on your own situation. Your consultant may offer you a sedative to help you relax.
A sheath (a short, soft plastic tube used to access your artery) is usually inserted in your femoral artery near your groin or radial artery near your wrist. Local anaesthetic may be used on the insertion area.
Your consultant will pass a catheter along the artery to your heart. Using x-ray guidance and contrast dye they will pass a small tube with a tiny inflatable balloon at the end down the catheter and across the narrowed part of the artery. They will then inflate the balloon to widen the artery. In most cases, they will also expand a stent inside the artery to hold it open. The balloon is then deflated and withdrawn leaving the stent to hold the artery open.
After your procedure you will need to remain in bed for several hours. Our healthcare team will monitor your recovery. Be sure and let us know if you are in any pain.
Going home after balloon coronary angioplasty
You may be able to go home the day of your procedure. In some cases an overnight stay may be required. You will not be allowed to drive until your consultant releases you to do so. Please arrange for someone to take you home.
You should avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting until your consultant releases you. Continue taking any high blood pressure or cholesterol medications as prescribed.
Bruising around the insertion area is normal. Contact us if you experience any increase in pain, redness, swelling or discharge from this area.
Be sure and discuss any return to work with your consultant.
As with any procedure there could be complications:
Specific complications of balloon coronary angioplasty may include:
- Reaction to contrast dye
- Change in heart rhythm
- Heart attack or stroke (rare).
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Mike is no stranger to angiograms. He's back for a second one, after the symptoms of his angina mysteriously returned following six months of relief. Dr Suneel Talwar, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, takes a look inside.