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Coronary angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention, is a procedure used to clear blocked heart arteries. A very small balloon catheter is placed during an angioplasty procedure to assist widen a blood artery that has become narrowed and enhance blood flow to the heart.

A thin wire mesh tube known as a stent is frequently inserted in addition to an angioplasty. The stent helps in keeping the artery open, reducing the likelihood of further narrowing. To maintain the artery open, medicine is typically coated on the majority of stents (drug-eluting stents). Bare-metal stents are used infrequently.

Chest pain and shortness of breath are examples of symptoms of blocked arteries that can be improved by an angioplasty. Angioplasty is frequently done to unblock a clogged artery immediately during a heart attack and lessen the amount of damage to the heart.

Blood can now flow to the heart through a new pathway thanks to coronary bypass surgery. Blood is redirected around a blocked section of an artery using a healthy blood conduit from another part of the body. Internal mammary artery or saphenous vein bypass are two possible blood vessels to use.


A treatment to restore blood flow to specific parts of your heart is called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), commonly referred to as heart bypass surgery. A blockage in an artery can stop the flow of blood, which can result in heart attacks or heart attack-like symptoms. By rerouting blood vessels from other parts of your body around obstructions, CABG restores blood flow.

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body continuously. Your heart requires blood flow to function, which it receives from a network of supply arteries that encircle it. Ischemia is a condition that occurs when tissues in your body don't receive adequate blood flow.

Your heart's muscle cells are particularly vulnerable to ischemia, and when it's severe, those heart muscle cells would begin to deteriorate. By reestablishing blood flow to the damaged heart muscle, coronary artery bypass grafting, known as CABG as well and pronounced "cabbage," treats ischemia.

A cardiothoracic surgeon will make an incision in the middle of your chest to access your heart for the procedure. To make surgery simpler to reach your heart, they will also split your breastbone (sternum) down the middle and spread and elevate your rib cage.

The surgeon will create the bypass using the extracted blood artery once they have reached your heart. Just after your blood leaves your heart and travels to the rest of your body, the upper end (beginning) of the bypass connects to your aorta, a big artery. Just beyond the obstruction, the lower end (ending) of the bypass will connect to the obstructed artery.

The surgeon can restart your heart (if they stopped it) and restore blood flow after the bypass is in place. Your rib cage will then be wired back into position so that it can mend. After that, they'll use staples and sutures to close the chest wound (stitches).

Fatty plaque accumulation in the blood arteries of the heart is treated using angioplasties. Atherosclerosis is a form of cardiac disease that this buildup represents.

You may be a candidate for angioplasty if:

• You've tried drugs or lifestyle modifications but they didn't help your heart health.

• You are having a heart attack;

• You have chest pain (angina) that is getting worse. A clogged artery can be swiftly opened with an angioplasty, minimizing heart damage.

Not everyone should get an angioplasty. Your physician may decide that coronary artery bypass surgery is a better course of treatment for you than angioplasty depending on the severity of your heart disease and your general health.

If your heart muscle is weak, your major artery supplying blood to the left side of your heart is narrow, you have diabetes, and you have several serious artery blockages, you may require coronary artery bypass surgery.

During coronary artery bypass surgery, a healthy blood vessel from another region of your body is used to get around the blocked portion of your artery.

  • Your doctor will examine you physically and go over your medical history before the angioplasty is arranged. Before your procedure, you might need to have a few tests, such as a chest X-ray, an electrocardiogram, and blood work. In order to determine whether the arteries leading to your heart are blocked and whether they could be opened up with angioplasty, your doctor will also do an imaging test known as coronary angiography.
  • If a blockage is discovered during your coronary angiography, your doctor can elect to conduct angioplasty and stenting while your heart is still catheterized right away.

You will receive preparation-related instructions from your doctor.

Before having an angioplasty, your doctor may advise you to change or stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, or blood thinners. Tell your doctor about all of your prescription and non-prescription medications, including herbal supplements.

  • Typically, six to eight hours prior to angiography, you must refrain from eating or drinking.
  • The morning of your procedure, take your prescribed medications with very little water.
  • Gather all of your medications, including nitroglycerin if you take it, to bring to the hospital.
  • Make plans for home transportation. You won't be able to drive yourself home the following day after angioplasty because it typically necessitates an overnight hospital stay.

What to anticipate

During the procedure

A cardiac catheterization laboratory is a dedicated operating room where angioplasties are carried out by a team of nurses and technicians with specialised cardiovascular training.

An artery in your groyne, arm, or wrist is used to do an angioplasty. There's no need for general anaesthesia. You'll be given a sedative to help you unwind, but depending on how well you sleep, you might be awake for the process.

  • An IV catheter will be inserted into your hand or arm, and you will receive fluids, sedatives, and blood-thinning (anticoagulant) drugs through this catheter.
  • During the procedure, your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen level will be measured.
  • Your doctor will apply an antiseptic solution to the area in your leg, arm, or wrist before covering your body with a sterile sheet.
  • A local anaesthetic will be used by your doctor to make the region where a very small incision will be made painless. The next step involves inserting a tiny, thin guidewire into the blood vessel.
  • Your doctor will insert a thin tube (catheter) into your artery with the aid of live X-rays.
  • After inserting the catheter, contrast dye is injected via it. As a result, angiograms, which are X-ray images that show the inside of your blood arteries, can be used by your doctor to determine the blockage.
  • At the location of the blockage, a tiny balloon, which may or may not have a stent, is inflated to widen the obstructed artery. The balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed after the artery has been stretched. If you have many obstructions, you may need to repeat the process at each one.

An angioplasty process could take several hours, depending on the complexity, the number of blockages, and whether any complications arise.

The place where the catheter was implanted may feel pressure. When the balloon is filled and your artery is stretched, you might have some mild discomfort as well, but in general, you shouldn't experience any severe pain.

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