Coronary angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked heart arteries. Angioplasty involves inserting and inflating balloon where your artery is blocked to help widen the artery.
A coronary artery stent is a small, metal mesh tube that expands is placed inside a coronary artery.
In comparison to open-heart surgery, angioplasty and stenting is less invasive than surgery because the blocked artery is accessed from a tiny incision in the upper leg or the wrist.
Two types of stents are used.
Bare metal stents – these are rarely used these days
Medicated stents – These stents have a drug placed in the stents which is gradually released after insertion . It prevents the disease coming back inside the stents.
Despite all the technological advancements 5-7% of the angioplasties might develop a blackage in 6 months – restenosis
Stents may last forever.
Angioplasty is successful in opening coronary arteries in well over 90% of patients.
After angioplasty, most patients are admitted for overnight stay in the hospital.If there are no complications, patients are sent home the following day.
The catheter site is checked for bleeding and swelling and the heart rate and blood pressure is monitored. Patients return to their normal routine by the following week.
Angioplasty recovery consists of avoiding physical activity for several days after the procedure.
Patients with stents are usually prescribed an blood thinner , which is taken at the same time as acetylsalicylic acid(aspirin) which are continued for 1 year and thereafter as per the advice of the cardiologist.