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Coronary Angioplasty

Sometimes this procedure follows on immediately after your angiogram, other times you will come back on another day. If you have to come back the preparation and access of the femoral artery is the same as for an angiogram (see coronary angiogram).

This procedure entails the use of devices to fix a blockage in a coronary artery and is an alternative (in certain cases) to open heart bypass surgery. The devices used are usually small balloons and stents.

A stent is a small metal tube that is used to hold the artery open. These devices are introduced through the middle of the catheter along a very fine wire that acts like a railroad track for the balloons and stents to run on. Usually a balloon is inserted first, placed across the blockage and inflated to open the blocked area. Secondly, a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open.

Sometimes a further balloon is placed inside the stent and inflated to make sure it’s fully open.

If you have more than one blockage this process is repeated in each one. Sometimes only a balloon is required and other times a stent can be placed without the first balloon inflation. Occasionally more than one stent is required to cover the diseased area. You will be awake but mildly sedated during the procedure.