If a serious narrowing of the coronary arteries was discovered during cardiac catheterization, your doctor will likely recommend angioplasty and/or stenting. These life-saving procedures open the blocked blood vessels to restore the flow of blood and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
If you require angioplasty, you can trust that the SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care team will provide the most comprehensive, innovative heart care available. Find a location near you to learn about all your available options for heart care.
What is Angioplasty?
The coronary arteries supply your heart with blood. In people with coronary artery disease, a fatty substance called plaque builds up, narrowing or blocking the flow of blood. These blockages will eventually result in a heart attack if left untreated.
During angioplasty your doctor will insert a catheter with a tiny balloon tip through an artery in your arm or leg and advance it to the site of the blockage. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to push the plaque against the artery wall. This opens or widens the blood vessel and restores the flow of blood to the heart.
What is a Stent?
In many cases, your doctor will place a coronary artery stent during or immediately after angioplasty to ensure the newly opened blood vessels stays open. A stent is a small metal mesh tube that is permanently inserted into an artery. Once expanded, the stent helps prevent the artery from closing up again. Some stents, called drug-eluding stents, are coated with medication to prevent clots from building up on the stent and once again blocking the artery.
Angioplasty Through the Wrist
While most angioplasty procedures are performed through the femoral artery in the groin, a growing number are being done through the radial artery in the wrist. A recent study shows that angioplasty performed through the radial artery results in fewer complications, especially for those who have already suffered from a heart attack. This approach can lessen the need for blood transfusions or surgery.
The procedure through the wrist can be easier on the patients, who recover in just a few hours with the help of a wristband to control bleeding at the puncture site.
Nationally, only 5% of angioplasty cases are performed through the wrist. At SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care, nearly 20% of our angioplasty procedures are now done with the radial technique. Find an SSM Health provider near year to learn about your options for treating heart disease.
Angioplasty with the Impella Heart Pump
In the past, patients with poor heart pumping function have been considered too high-risk for angioplasty or heart surgery. Now, a device called the Impella 2.5 has opened the door for many of these patients to have life-saving angioplasty. The Impella 2.5 helps maintain heart function during the procedure.
The Impella is the world’s smallest heart pump. The tiny device is inserted through a catheter in the groin to the heart’s left ventricle, where it pumps blood for the duration of the angioplasty. This improves blood flow, reduces the heart’s workload and prevents your heart from being overstressed. Once the blockages are re-opened, the Impella is gradually reduced and then removed from the body.
When you require critical care like angioplasty, you want to know you have the best team on your side. SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care offers the most cutting-edge treatments and technologies available to provide the best possible outcomes for your heart. Find a provider near you today.