Benefits and Risks of Angioplasty


Angioplasty is a procedure to open blood vessels (coronary arteries) that supply blood toward the heart. This treatment often used soon after a heart attack.

This procedure is also called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). In many cases, coronary artery stents inserted after angioplasty in order to keep the blood flowing and prevent arteries narrowing again.

Undergo angioplasty within the first few hours after a heart attack may reduce the risk of another heart attack, but timing is very important. According to Harvard Medical School, if the angioplasty performed more than 24 hours after a heart attack, chances are there is no benefit at all. The sooner you receive treatment from a heart attack, the lower the risk of heart failure and other complications.

Angioplasty also can relieve the symptoms of heart disease in patients who had never suffered a heart attack.

Process and the workings of angioplasty

The procedure is usually done under local anesthetic influences. First, the arm or groin will be slashed. A small inflatable balloon catheter at the end will be inserted into the artery. With video and special x-ray dye, the surgeon will raise the catheter up to the coronary arteries are clogged. Once in position, the balloon will be inflated to dilate the arteries, which causes a pile of fat (plaque) to pushed against the walls of arteries, clearing the path for good blood flow.

In some cases, the catheter is also equipped with a stainless steel mesh called a stent. Stents are useful for keeping blood vessels open and remains in its original position after deflated balloon and taken. Once the balloon catheter is out, can also be removed. The procedure may take several hours to 1 1/2.

The benefits of angioplasty after a heart attack

According to Cardiovascular Angiography and Community Interventions (SCAI), Angioplasty for heart attack treatment saved many lives. This is an efficient way to let blood flow into the heart more quickly. The faster the blood flow is restored, less damage to the heart muscle. Angioplasty also relieves chest pain and may prevent recurrence of short breath and other symptoms that are associated with a decreased flow of blood towards the heart muscle.

You may be more in need of invasive open-heart bypass surgery rather than angioplasty, which requires recovery time much longer. Angioplasty may lower the risk of another heart attack and increase the chances of survival rather than a BLOB busting drugs, according to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom.

Potential risks and complications

All medical procedures have a certain risk. You may experience an allergic reaction to anesthesia, dyes, or some material used in angioplasty. Some of the other risks associated with coronary angioplasty include:
  • Bleeding, clotting, or bruising at the site of insertion
  • Scar tissue is formed inside the stent
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Damage to the blood vessels, heart valves, or arteries
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney damage, especially in people who previously experienced kidney problems
  • Stroke (rare complication)
The risk of emergency angioplasty after a heart attack is greater than the angioplasty performed in different circumstances.

Angioplasty did not cure the blocked arteries. In some cases, the artery can narrow again (restenosis). The risk is higher if the stent restenosis altogether is not used.

What can I expect?

Post-heart attack, the doctor will explain how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the heart. Always appropriate medication prescribed. If you are a smoker, it is now time to stop. A proper diet and exercising will help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the blood remain low. Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the chances of another had a heart attack.

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