What is Coronary Angioplasty?

Dr Rahul Chhabria

Dr Rahul Chhabria

Cardiologist, Jaslok Hospital, 5 years of experience

December 4, 2020 Heart Diseases 811 Views

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Meaning of Coronary Angioplasty

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure commonly used to open the blocked coronary artery. In coronary angioplasty, a stent (small, metal mesh tube) is inserted into the artery with the help of a catheter with a balloon at its end. The balloon is inflated to widen the artery and push out the plaque that is blocking the artery, thereby restoring the blood flow. This process may take up to 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Through this article, we will try to tell you in detail about coronary angioplasty.

  • What is the Purpose of Coronary Angioplasty?
  • Preparations before Angioplasty 
  • What is the Procedure of Angioplasty?
  • Care After Angioplasty
  • What are the Risks of Angioplasty?
  • What is the Cost of Angioplasty in India?

What is the Purpose of Coronary Angioplasty?

Angioplasty is required when there is an obstruction of one or more coronary arteries due to the accumulation of fat deposits. Angioplasty opens the blocked coronary artery and is useful in reducing the damage to the heart. 

Conditions of the heart where Angioplasty is advised are:

  • Unstable angina (Angina is a type of cardiac chest pain) 
  • NSTEMI (Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction- a common type of heart attack)
  • STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction- a type of heart attack which is more severe)
  • Coronary artery blockage
  • Coronary artery perforation. ( Know more about- What are Heart Valve Diseases? )

Preparations before Angioplasty

Certain tests done before Angioplasty are CBC (Complete Blood Test), ECG (ElectroCardioGraphy), Liver Function Tests, Kidney Function Tests, and Anaesthesia trials. ( Know more about- What is Echocardiography? )

What is the Procedure of Angioplasty? 

In the lab, a catheter is inserted in the patient’s arm or leg artery with the help of a sheath, after numbing the site of insertion with local anesthesia. The coronary artery is injected with a contrast dye to get a better view of the affected areas. The coronary arteries and the parts inside the heart are examined using a special camera to find the problem areas.

The balloon catheter is placed where there is a blockage to break the fat deposits. With the help of an inflated balloon, the cardiologist fits the stent at that site, so that the blood can easily flow into the muscles of the heart. A stent is a small, metal mesh coil, which can expand. It helps the artery from narrowing, closing, or getting blocked again. Once the stent is fitted, the balloon is deflated and removed. Some stents contain medicine and are designed to reduce the risk of blockage in the artery. According to this, stents can be of two types:

  1. Bare metal stents, which have no special coating and 
  2. Drug-eluting stents, coated with medications. 

A patient may at times need more than one stent depending on the number of blockages in the arteries.

Angioplasty is usually an elective procedure (pre-planned), however, sometimes, in an emergency like a heart attack or risk of stroke, patients undergo angioplasty as an emergency procedure.

As we know , common symptoms of Coronary artery disease are- chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, abnormal heart rate and swellings in the legs and feet. One must visit the cardiologist immediately and get the heart tests done. Apart from coronary angioplasty, patients may be advised to get Heart Bypass Surgery. Heart Bypass Surgery is done by some of the finest cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons in India, in different hospitals across the country. 

Care After Angioplasty

The patient who has undergone angioplasty in an emergency condition requires a longer hospital stay for recovery. Apart from this, patients are usually allowed to go home within a week after angioplasty or 12-24 hours after the removal of the catheter. The following care has to be taken once the patient goes home:

  • Medications should be taken as per the schedule given by the doctor. Some of these medications include blood-thinning drugs that prevent blood from clotting. Many people are required to take these medicines for a long time after undergoing angioplasty. 
  • After angioplasty, the patient should make a lot of healthy changes in his routine. Such as quitting alcohol and smoking, daily exercise, and yoga, taking nutritious food, maintaining cholesterol levels, etc.( Know more about- What are Cholesterol Tests? )
  • The patient should take as many fluids as possible.
  • If there is swelling and pain at the site of catheter insertion or fever, weakness, infection, chest pain, and shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately.
  • If a patient does not get good results after angioplasty, the doctor may recommend bypass surgery to reduce heart problems.
  • Some routine investigations like CBC (Complete Blood Count), Kidney and Liver Function Tests need to be done periodically.
  • Follow-up for a patient with a heart stent should be in 3-6 months, regularly.

What are the Risks of Angioplasty?

After an angioplasty, there may be a risk of the following complications:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Bleeding at the site of catheter3
  • Blood clots 
  • Blood vessel injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Chest pain or discomfort 
  • Heart attack  ( Know more about- What is Heart Attack? )
  • Kidney damage 
  • Arrhythmias ( Know more about- What are the Arrhythmias of the heart ? )
  • Stroke 
  • If the patient is older, then the risks may increase further.

What is the Cost of Angioplasty in India?

The total cost of angioplasty in India can range from INR 1,50,000 to INR 3,00,000. But the cost of angioplasty may vary across different hospitals and also depends upon the number of stents and the type of stents being used.

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the cost of coronary angioplasty, there will be an additional cost of accommodation and food, the cost of local travel, etc. So the total cost of angioplasty can range around INR 4,00,000.

We hope that we could answer your questions regarding coronary angioplasty through this article.

If you want more information and treatment of coronary angioplasty, you can contact a Cardiac Surgeon.

We only aim to give you information through this article. We do not recommend medication, treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice.

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