page banner

What is a coronary angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty is a technique that ‘squashes’ the atheroma (fatty tissue) in the narrowed artery, making the inside of the vessel wider and allowing the blood to flow through it more easily.

Coronary angioplasty is also called balloon angioplasty, balloon dilatation, PTCA(percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty), or PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention). Coronary angioplasty as a planned treatment or an emergency procedure

Sometimes coronary angioplasty is done as a treatment that is planned beforehand, and sometimes it is done as an urgent or emergency treatment

As a planned treatment

Coronary angioplasty cannot be used for everyone who has angina. Before you are accepted for coronary angioplasty, you will need to have a coronary angiogram. You can have an angioplasty treatment more than once. Also, angioplasty can sometimes be used if you have already had coronary bypass surgery but your angina has come back or got worse because one of the grafts has become narrowed or blocked.

As an emergency treatment

Coronary angioplasty is also used, in an emergency, to treat some people who have acute coronary syndrome. Acute coronary syndrome is a general term which covers the following conditions.

A heart attack-This is sometimes called a coronary thrombosis or myocardial infarction.

Unstable angina- This means angina that comes on with less and less physical activity, or even while you are resting.

When someone gets a chest pain or chest discomfort, at first it is sometimes difficult for the doctor to tell whether the person is suffering from unstable angina or having a heart attack. So, if this happens to you, your doctor may say that have acute coronary syndrome. (‘Syndrome’ means a set of symptoms that happens together, and ‘coronary’ means to do with the heart.) The technique involved in an emergency coronary angioplasty is the same as for a planned coronary angioplasty. However, if you have acute coronary syndrome, you may be given extra drugs when the angioplasty is carried out.