What is Coronary Angioplasty

What is Coronary Angioplasty?
What is Coronary Angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty, a procedure aimed at opening blocked or narrowed coronary arteries, is crucial for enhancing blood flow to the heart muscle.

Over time, arteries can become hardened and narrowed due to the accumulation of plaque, a fatty substance—a condition known as atherosclerosis. When this affects the coronary arteries, it’s termed coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease.

Angioplasty serves to restore blood flow to the heart when arteries are narrowed or blocked due to CHD. It’s a common procedure used to:

  • Alleviate symptoms of CHD, such as angina (chest pain or discomfort) and shortness of breath.
  • Minimize heart muscle damage resulting from a heart attack, where a coronary artery is completely blocked by a blood clot. During angioplasty, a small balloon is inflated within the coronary artery to relieve the blockage.
  •  Lower the risk of death in certain patients.

In the United States, angioplasty is performed on over 1 million individuals annually, with serious complications being rare but possible. Ongoing research aims to enhance the safety and effectiveness of angioplasty, prevent re-narrowing of treated arteries, and broaden its applicability to more individuals.