Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to treat blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.
What does coronary angioplasty involve?
The procedure is now often performed via a small blood vessel in the arm (radial artery). A short tube is placed in the artery under local anaesthetic. Wires and longer tubes (called catheters) are then passed towards the heart. Contrast is then injected into the arteries of the heart.
Very thin wires are then passed through the coronary artery that is narrowed. Balloons and stents can be passed over this wire. Balloons are used to open the narrowing and a stent is often placed to keep the artery open. The stent is usually a metal alloy that is coated with a special drug that reduces its chance of re-narrowing.
At the end of the procedure all equipment is removed from the body; however if a stent has been implanted this will remain in the artery for life.
What is the recovery period?
After the procedure, you’ll normally be able to go home the same day or the day after.
If you've been admitted to hospital following a heart attack, you may need to stay in hospital for several days after the procedure before going home.
You'll need to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous activities and driving for at least a week.