The goal of
angioplasty is to open blood vessels and increase
blood flow to the heart. It is done when arteries are narrowed or blocked from
coronary artery disease. Angioplasty can be done with
or without a small, wire-mesh tube called a
Angioplasty is not surgery. It is done using a thin,
soft tube called a catheter that's inserted in your artery. It doesn't use
large cuts (incisions) or require anesthesia to make you sleep.
Most of the time, stents are placed during
angioplasty. The stent keeps the artery open. When stents are used, there is a
smaller chance that the artery will become narrow again. See a picture of
angioplasty with stenting .
Your doctor may use a bare metal stent or a drug-eluting stent. Drug-eluting stents are coated with medicine that helps keep the artery open after angioplasty.
Other Treatment Choices
another treatment that is like angioplasty. But it is only done in certain
cases. Atherectomy is done to shave away and maybe remove plaque in a narrowed artery.
for people with long-term chest pain is
enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP). Most of the
time, this is done only if you are unable to have angioplasty or
What to Think About
Your treatment will depend in part on:
- How many arteries are blocked.
- How badly the arteries are blocked, and where.
- Other heart problems you may have.
- Your feelings about treatment.
No matter what treatment you receive, you'll still need
to make changes in the way you eat and how much you exercise. These changes,
along with not smoking, will give you the best chance of living a longer,
To learn more, see:
- Heart Disease: Should I Have Angioplasty for Stable Angina?
- Heart Disease: Should I Have Bypass Surgery?
After angioplasty, your doctor may suggest that you attend a
cardiac rehabilitation program. In cardiac rehab, a
team of health professionals provides education and support to help you
The rehab team can help you make new, healthy habits,
such as eating right and getting more exercise. Making these changes is just as
important as getting treatment in keeping your heart healthy and your arteries
For more information, see the topic