A procedure done to open clogged arteries outside of the heart. These arteries might include but are not limited to the legs, arms, kidneys or neck. An angioplasty involves temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon where your artery is clogged – helping to widen the artery. This procedure is often combined with the placement of a stent (a small wire mesh tube) that props open the artery and decreases the chance of narrowing again. Other procedures might include atherectomy (“roto-rooter”) and/or laser therapy to remove the atheroma (substance that clogs the artery).
WHAT TO EXPECT: This procedure is similar to the cardiac catheterization - typically, patients are awake but sedated. An IV is inserted into your hand or arm to administer any medications that you might need.
Monitors will also be placed on your chest to check your heartbeat during the test. Prior to inserting the catheter into either your groin or wrist, you will be given a shot to numb the area. The catheter will then be inserted through a small incision. Small amounts of dye are injected through the catheter – allowing your physician to look at the blockage on X-ray images (called angiograms). A small balloon is then inflated, widening the artery.
Stent placement often occurs in conjunction with an angioplasty. This small wire mesh tube helps support the walls of your artery to prevent it from re-narrowing. After both procedures you can expect to stay in the hospital while staff monitors you and your medication is adjusted (often times patients must start taking medicine to reduce the chance of a blood clot). Medication adherence is vital to prevent from clotting the stent. Plan to stay overnight at the hospital after this procedure and have someone drive you home early the next morning.