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Coronary angioplasty is performed in the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Our board-certified cardiologists, registered nurses, and cardiovascular and radiologic technologists are highly skilled and experienced in performing this minimally invasive procedure.
What Is Coronary Angioplasty?
Coronary angioplasty is a nonsurgical procedure used to open arteries in the heart blocked or narrowed by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis restricts blood flow to the heart, which can lead to chest pain. In angioplasty, doctors use wire, balloons, and stents to clear blockages and improve the blood flow throughout your cardiovascular system.
What Conditions Does Coronary Angioplasty Treat?
Coronary angioplasty is used to treat:
- Angina (chest pain)
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Heart attack
- Peripheral arterial disease (reduced blood flow to limbs caused by narrowed arteries)
What to Expect
Learn more about coronary angioplasty and what to expect.
During the procedure a long, thin tube (catheter) is guided from a small incision in your groin, wrist, or leg up to the arteries around your heart and finally into the heart itself. Blocked arteries are then opened with a balloon or an expandable stent at the end of the catheter.
Angioplasty can be done with or without stent placement. In stent placement, a tiny coil of wire mesh is placed in the blocked artery to prevent it from re-narrowing after the procedure.
After the procedure you'll remain in the hospital while your heart is monitored. Most people go home within 1-2 days and are able to walk the next day. Your doctor will talk to you about how much activity you can do and will prescribe anticoagulant medications to prevent blood clots from forming, and other medications as needed.
Most people are able to return to work and normal activity the week after angioplasty.