What is an Angioplasty procedure?An angioplasty procedure (or balloon angioplasty) is used to increase the diameter of a constricted artery or a vein that has become obstructed mainly due to arterial atherosclerosis. This is an ‘endovascular’ minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a deflated balloon attached to the end of a catheter (balloon catheter) is inserted in the obstructed vein or artery till the point of obstruction and inflated to return the narrowed artery or vein to its normal size. This narrowing of the blood vessel is known as ‘stenosis’ and it causes a decrease in the normal blood flow leading to major heart diseases and other disorders. The widening of the stenosis helps increase the blood flow to normal levels and decreases the risk of any resultant medical problems. This procedure is often followed by the placement of a ‘stent’ to hold the widened blood vessel portion to the normal size.
What are the different uses of the Angioplasty procedure?The angioplasty procedure is used to treat various kinds of vascular (blood vessel) disorders. The different types of angioplasty procedures are:
Coronary AngioplastyThe coronary angioplasty procedure is also known as the ‘percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and is used as a therapeutic procedure for the treatment of coronary heart disease caused by stenosis (narrowing) of the coronary arteries of the heart. Excess depositing of cholesterol-laden plaques causes the arteries to become narrow at the deposit site. The treatment of coronary heart disease through the using of the PCI procedure decreases chest pain.
Peripheral AngioplastyThis procedure is used to widen the arteries that do not belong to the coronary artery system. It is used to treat narrowing of the arteries of the renal, leg and abdomen areas that is often caused due to various peripheral artery diseases.
Carotid AngioplastyCarotid endarterectomy is avoided by using carotid stenting for treating carotid artery stenosis.
Renal Artery AngioplastyIn case the renal artery suffers from an atherosclerotic obstruction the angioplasty procedure is advised to avoid renal artery stenosis that can result in loss of kidney function as well as hypertension.
Venous AngioplastyA thoracic outlet syndrome can cause narrowing of the subclavian vein and a venous angioplasty is useful in treating it.
What are the benefits and risks of an Angioplasty procedure?The main benefit of an angioplasty is its minimally invasive nature. This type of surgery leaves less and smaller scars that tend to heal naturally over time. There is also very less, or no, bleeding in a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Apart from this the angioplasty procedure recovery time is far more less than that required after a conventional arterial correction surgical procedure. There are certain risks or complications that might be seen after an angioplasty, such as:
- Embolization – Debris in the blood stream.
- Arterial rupture – In case the balloon on the catheter is over-inflated.
- Hematoma – This could form at the incision site.
- Radiation injuries – Burns from the extensive use of x-ray.