Angioplasty and Stenting

ANGIOPLASTY AND STENTING

Overview

There is one fact that is almost universally accepted – the heart is the most important organ in the human body. It is the heart that keeps pumping blood to all the different organs, ensuring that they keep performing their respective actions. Hence, to ensure the blood flow to and from the heart is uninterrupted is absolutely critical for everyone.

The blood flow to and from the heart happens by means of arteries, also known as coronary arteries. As we age, these arteries may become clogged with substance known as plaque. Of course, any kind of blockage in the coronary arteries is unhealthy, but a blockage to the extent of restricting the blood flow can actually turn fatal. Therefore, a lot of efforts have been dedicated by the medical community to handle this situation. Of the multiple procedures available, the most common and most effective is the coronary angioplasty or stent surgery.

The doctor studies the patient’s condition during the angiography and may decide to go for angioplasty surgery immediately if the situation so demands. Coronary angioplasty is also the emergency procedure after a heart attack. So what exactly is the Angioplasty procedure?

Angioplasty stent is a minimally invasive procedure undertaken to increase the flow of blood to the heart from the coronary arteries and vice versa. During the angioplasty surgery, a small balloon is inserted into the impacted artery and then inflated. This pushes the plaque towards the wall of the arteries, thereby allowing better flow of blood.

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In most cases, the coronary angioplasty is accompanied by the placement of a heart stent. A stent is nothing but a very small piece of wire mesh that is inserted with the balloon during the angioplasty. On the balloon being inflated, the stent also expands and fits in place permanently, whereas the balloon is deflated and removed.

Although, coronary angioplasty is an extremely low risk angioplasty procedure, there is a certain amount of risk associated, especially with the placement of a heart stent. To avoid blood clotting around the cardiac stent (which may increase the risk of a stroke or a heart attack), your doctor will always prescribe a blood thinning medicine that may need to be continued forever.

The most important factor of undergoing angioplasty stent or heart stent procedure is to ensure the follow up treatment is adhered to without a fail. Any new angioplasty procedure must be undertaken only after proper consultation with your cardiologist.

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