Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Heart Attack and Unstable Angina - Surgery

An angioplasty procedure or bypass surgery might be done to open blocked arteries and improve blood flow to the heart.


Angioplasty. This procedure gets blood flowing back to the heart. It opens a coronary artery that was narrowed or blocked during a heart attack. Doctors try to do angioplasty as soon as possible after a heart attack. Angioplasty might be done for unstable angina, especially if there is a high risk of a heart attack.

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 camera.gif. They keep the artery open.

But angioplasty is not done at all hospitals. Sometimes an ambulance will take a person to a hospital that provides angioplasty, even if that hospital is farther away. If a person is at a hospital that does not do angioplasty, he or she might be moved to another hospital where it is available.

If you are at a hospital that has proper equipment and staff to do this procedure, you may have cardiac catheterization, also called coronary angiogram. Your doctor will check your coronary arteries to see if angioplasty is right for you.

Bypass surgery

Bypass surgery. If angioplasty is not right for you, emergency coronary artery bypass surgery may be done. For example, bypass surgery might be a better choice because of the location of the blockage or because you have many blockages.

Cardiac rehabilitation

After you have had angioplasty or bypass surgery, you may be encouraged to take part in a cardiac rehabilitation program to help lower your risk of death from heart disease. For more information, see the topic Cardiac Rehabilitation.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 13, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    x-ray of human heart
    A visual guide.
    atrial fibrillation
    Symptoms and causes.
    heart rate graph
    10 things to never do.
    heart rate
    Get the facts.
    empty football helmet
    red wine
    eating blueberries
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Inside A Heart Attack
    Omega 3 Sources
    Salt Shockers
    lowering blood pressure