Opening Arteries with Angioplasty
The goal of angioplasty is the restoration of adequate blood flow through the affected part of the body.
The most common endovascular therapy is a balloon angioplasty, in which a catheter is inserted through an artery (usually in the groin) and guided to the place where the artery is narrowed.
When the tube reaches the narrowed artery, a small balloon at the end of the tube inflates for 20 seconds to three minutes. The pressure from the balloon presses the fat and calcium (plaque) against the wall of the artery to improve blood flow.
Depending on which artery is being treated, a stent may be inserted during the angioplasty. A stent is a metallic mesh tube that is placed at the site of the narrowing to open the artery and keep it open.
Sometimes, a drug-eluting stent is used to help prevent blockages from reoccurring. Drug-eluting stents were developed to replace standard bare-metal stents, which occasionally caused scar tissue to form and the artery to narrow again. Drug-eluting stents are coated with medications that prevent scar tissue from growing in the artery and thus more effective in keeping the artery open.
The complete procedure of angioplasty and stenting can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours, depending on the individual patient.
Renal (Kidney) Angioplasty and Stent Placement
A renal angioplasty is a way of relieving a blockage in the renal artery, the main blood vessel to the kidney, without having an operation. A fine plastic tube, called a catheter, is inserted through a blockage in an artery, and a special balloon on the catheter is inflated to open up the blockage and allow more blood to flow through it. Kidney arteries often require the insertion of a tiny hollow tube called a stent to keep them open after the procedure.
Iliac and Femoral (Leg) Artery Angioplasty and Stent Placement
An iliac and femoral artery angioplasty is a way of relieving a blockage in the leg arteries without having an operation. A catheter is inserted through a blockage in an artery, and a special balloon on the catheter is inflated to open up the blockage and allow more blood to flow through it. Iliac and femoral arteries often require the insertion of a tiny hollow tube called a stent to keep them open after the procedure.
Coronary angioplasty is used to open one or more clogged or narrowed arteries in the heart. Just as a catheter is used to visualize a patient's arteries, a small balloon tipped catheter may be floated up to the blocked area in the coronary artery and inflated to press the plaque against the artery wall so that more blood can reach the heart muscle.