Balloon Angioplasty Coronary Angioplasty
Movie Center: Cardiac
Run Time: 4:54


What is a Balloon Angioplasty?

The heart is located in the center of the chest. It's job is to keep blood continually circulating throughout the body.

The blood vessels that supply the body with oxygen-rich blood are called arteries.

The arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle itself are called coronary arteries.

Sometimes, these blood vessels can narrow or become blocked by plaque deposits, restricting normal blood flow.

In simple terms, a balloon angioplasty is a procedure used to increase the amount of blood flowing through the coronary artery.

During a balloon angioplasty, a heart specialist will insert a thin tube into an artery in your arm or leg and gently guide it towards the problem area in your heart.

Once the tube is in place, a small balloon is briefly inflated in order to widen the narrowed artery.

During and after the procedure, your doctor will take x-rays in order to monitor your progress.

Then the doctor will make a small cut over the femoral artery in the upper part of the leg.

A special needle is then inserted into the artery itself.

Then a guide wire is carefully passed through the needle and gently pushed into the artery and upwards towards your chest.

A narrow tube, called a catheter is threaded along the wire until it too has reached the coronary artery.

Next, the doctor uses the catheter to inject a dye into the artery itself. The die shows up on a TV monitor and is used to pinpoint the exact location of the blocked area.

Once the restricted area has been identified, a thin wire is inserted into the catheter, and is guided all the way to the blocked area and then slightly beyond.

This wire acts as guide for the balloon catheter. It allows your doctor to position the deflated balloon precisely in the middle of the narrowest part of the coronary artery.

The balloon is briefly inflated. As it expands, it squeezes the plaque deposits against the wall of the artery. It also stretches the artery wall and enlarges the channel through which blood flows.

Your doctor will continue to inflate and deflate the balloon until normal blood flow has been restored.

Finally, after a thorough investigation of the region, the catheters and guide wire are withdrawn.

The dye that had been injected will break up and leave your body as waste.

Slight pressure is applied to the incision in your leg in order to prevent bleeding.
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