Angioplasty and Stent Placement: A Guide
In India, over 20% of diabetics and 11% of non-diabetics have narrowed or blocked heart arteries. Luckily, coronary angioplasty has an impressive 95% success rate in treating this condition.
Angioplasty and stent placement are two of the most common procedures used to treat cardiovascular disease. These procedures can help reduce symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and even improve a patient’s quality of life. Understanding how these treatments work, what to expect before and after the procedure and how to take care of yourself after the procedure can help ensure a successful outcome.
What is Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a procedure that opens blocked or narrowed arteries that supply blood to the heart. It is usually done with a tiny balloon attached to a hollow tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into an artery, usually in the groin or wrist area, and advanced to the affected artery.
The balloon is then inflated to widen the artery. The inflated balloon presses the plaque on the artery walls outward, which opens the artery and improves blood flow.
What is a Stent?
A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that is placed in the widened artery. The stent helps keep the artery open and prevents it from narrowing again. It also prevents plaque from building up in the artery. Stents come in different shapes and sizes and are made of either metal or plastic.
Benefits of Angioplasty and Stents
- Reduced risk of heart attack: Stents and angioplasty help to open up blocked coronary arteries, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Improved blood flow: By opening the blocked coronary arteries, stents and angioplasty can improve blood flow to the heart, which can reduce chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.
- Reduced risk of death: Studies have shown that stents and angioplasty reduce the risk of death from coronary artery disease.
- Improved quality of life: Stents and angioplasty can improve quality of life by reducing chest pain and shortness of breath and improving overall cardiac functioning.
- Lower risk of needing bypass surgery: Stents and angioplasty can reduce the need for bypass surgery or other more invasive treatments for coronary artery disease.
How is Angioplasty and Stenting Performed?
Angioplasty and stent placement are usually performed in a hospital. Before the procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted. The doctor then inserts the catheter into the artery and advances it to the affected area. Next, the balloon is inflated, and the stent is placed. After the procedure, the doctor will monitor the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure.
What to Expect After the Procedure?
- After the procedure, most patients can return home the same day
- The patient may experience some bruising and soreness at the catheter insertion site
- Some patients may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness
- The patient should avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks after the procedure
- Blood thinners may be prescribed to help prevent blood clots from forming
How to Care for Yourself After the Procedure?
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for activity and medications
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise as recommended by your doctor
- Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker
- Regularly visit your doctor for follow-up appointments
Angioplasty and stent placement are two of the most common treatments for cardiovascular disease. Understanding the procedure, what to expect before and after the procedure, and how to take care of yourself after the procedure can help ensure a successful outcome.
Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have about these procedures.