What’s coronary angioplasty and stenting?
An angioplasty is where a small balloon unblocks an artery by pushing cholesterol plaque aside to increase the diameter of the artery and improve blood flow.
The insertion of a stent usually occurs during the same procedure. Stents are a form of metal mesh that act like scaffolding for the artery and help keep it open. Once in place, it’s not removable and becomes part of the artery wall over time.
This procedure is generally used to treat chest pains or sensations that result from a lack of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle (angina). In certain circumstances, angioplasty can reduce the risk of heart attack.
What happens during an angioplasty?
The care we give has been designed by nurses, doctors, technicians and researchers across the world.
Treatment is always easier when know what to expect. Here’s a summary of what generally happens during this test.
- The procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes.
- You may be given an oral or intravenous sedative before or during the procedure and a local anaesthetic over the access artery in the groin or arm.
- A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is guided to the appropriate heart artery. A very fine wire is then steered across the blockage and balloons and stents are fed over the wire.
- When completed, pressure is then applied to the site until the tiny hole in the artery has sealed off.
What you can expect.
No-one likes being a patient. We help people through their health challenges, so they can live well beyond them and move on with their lives. You are generally able to go home the next morning after the procedure, but be mindful of the following:
- Try to avoid exercise and lifting objects for the first few days. Restart gentle activities after that, building up to normal activities over a week or so.
- It’s best not to drive during the first week.
- Sexual activity can be resumed after 14 days.
- It’s best to avoid heavy physical work for the first week.
Although these are general recommendations your treating cardiologist will give you specific advice regarding your own circumstances.
Because it’s your life.
Generally, most treated blockages will not return. Although this can be affected by certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol.
We’ll continue to work with you beyond your treatment to ensure you are moving forward for the better.