Angioplasty (AP) is a surgical procedure, which allows restoring the normal blood flow in the area of narrowing or occlusion of the vessel. Such an intervention is used for various types of vascular diseases, i.e. atherosclerosis, thrombosis, embolism, and arteritis. Very often, angioplasty is complemented by installation of a metal frame, stent.
Depending on what vessel is corrected, there are four kinds of angioplasty:
- coronary (on the arteries supplying blood to the heart)
- cerebral (vascular brain)
- brachiocephalic (vascular neck)
- renovascular (on the kidney vessels)
- in the arteries of lower extremities.
The first type of AP is the most demanded in vascular surgery. According to statistics, it accounts for about 80% surgeries.
The issue of the procedure is addressed after the data of coronary angiography, i.e. X-ray examination of blood vessels, become available. The physician determines the degree of occlusion of the affected artery and the possibility of access to the narrowed area.
To prepare for the surgery, the patient is prescribed a set of standard research:
- blood tests for HIV, hepatitis, and to determine the Rhesus factor etc.,
- a therapist’s and cardiologist’s advice.
30 minutes prior to angioplasty, the patient is given a sedative drug. Under local anesthesia, the physician makes a puncture of an artery in the area where the catheter will be inserted. Depending on the procedure, it can be groin, elbow or wrist area.
A catheter is a thin plastic tube. Under the X-ray monitoring, it is gently introduced into the puncture site and moved to the narrowed area. Then the microballoon is passed through the tube. In the affected site of the artery it is expanded, which leads to the vessel unfolding. Thereafter, the balloon is deflated and removed again. To support the vessel from the inside, the surgeon may install a stent.
In some clinics, a laser AP is practiced. In this case, the artery lumen is released by application of dosed radiation to its walls.
Angioplasty is characterized by low traumatism to the tissue, so the patients recover rather quickly. After the procedure, the patient is transported to the chamber, where s/he is prescribed bed rest for 6 to 10 hours. To prevent infectious complications, the antibiotics are recommended. The patient is discharged from the hospital on day 2 or 3.
In some cases, the artery restenosis can develop. Therefore, it is important to come to regular check-ups to a cardiologist and pass the follow-up tests for prevention purposes.