Angioplasty is an effective treatment for heart attack. Angioplasty is a procedure that must be performed during cardiac catheterization.
During a cardiac catheterization, a catheter (thin plastic tube) is inserted into an artery in the groin, and then threaded up through the aorta to the heart. During angioplasty, the catheter is advanced into the narrowed part of the coronary artery. A balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, in order to force open the narrowed artery. Alternative techniques include cutting or burning away the blockage with a tiny blade or laser.
After angioplasty, a stent may be used to help hold the artery open. Stents are tiny struts that expand against the inside wall of the artery. They prop open the blood vessel after it has been opened.
Rare complications of angioplasty include:
- Allergic reaction to the dye
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery rupture
- A small number of opened arteries become narrowed again. However, stents are used to protect against this complication.
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