A stent is often placed during angioplasty to help keep the artery open. This is a small tube that acts as a scaffold to support the inside of your artery. A balloon catheter, placed over a guide wire, puts the stent into your narrowed coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated, and the stent expands to the size of the artery and holds it open. The balloon is then deflated and removed while the stent stays in place. Over several weeks, your artery heals around the stent.
Recovery from angioplasty and stenting is typically brief. Many patients are able to return to work within a few days to a week after a procedure. Angioplasty restores blood flow to the heart by opening narrowed or blocked coronary arteries without open surgery.
Angioplasty is performed in a special operating room called a catheterization laboratory.
In addition to relaxing sedatives, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the catheter insertion site. The doctor uses a needle to make a small incision in the arm or groin. The needle inserts into a tapered tube, called a sheath, into the hole. A catheter with a balloon in its tip is inserted through the sheath. An imaging method called fluoroscopy guides the needle to the blocked artery. With the tip at the site of the blockage, the balloon is expanded. The ballon pushes the plaque against the artery wall and relieving the blockage.
When the procedure is complete, the doctor removes the catheter and sheath. Then they close the opening in the blood vessel. The patient is then moved to a special care unit, where he or she will recover anywhere from a few hours to overnight. During recovery, the care team monitors the patient’s vital signs. Additionally, they will ensure the catheter insertion site closes properly.
Angioplasty and stents help prevent arteries from becoming narrow or blocked again in the months or years after the procedure. Continuing the lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor can help prevent plaque from building up in your arteries again. You should also take all medicines as your doctor prescribes. Your doctor may also suggest taking statins, which are medicines that lower blood cholesterol levels further preventing the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
If you have PAD or if you are concerned that you may have it, contact us at Coastal Vascular Center today. We have a range of treatment options and can work with you on strategies to lower your risk of peripheral artery disease.