Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty, also known
as angioplasty or PTCA, is a method of widening an area of an artery narrowed
by fatty deposits without surgery. The procedure is similar to a cardiac catheterization.
A catheter with a small, inflatable balloon on the end is guided through the
artery until the balloon is positioned in the narrowed section of the artery.
The balloon is inflated for up to thirty seconds, pressing the fatty deposits
against the wall of the artery. The balloon may be inflated and deflated several
times during the angioplasty. It is common to have some chest discomfort when
the balloon is inflated because the blood flow through the artery is temporarily
stopped; however, the discomfort should subside when the balloon is deflated.
As a result of the angioplasty, the diameter of the blood vessel is increased,
improving blood flow in the artery.
A coronary stent is a small, latticed, high grade stainless
steel tube which is used to hold the coronary artery open and minimize the chance
of abrupt closure after angioplasty. It is placed in the coronary artery using
the same procedure as the angioplasty. The stent is typically mounted on a balloon
angioplasty catheter. It is positioned at the narrowed area of the artery. When
the balloon is inflated, the stent expands and is pressed against the vessel
wall. The balloon is deflated and withdrawn, leaving the stent permanently in
After a stent is placed, you will be prescribed an antiplatelet
medication. This is used to minimize the risk of clot formation in the stent
while tissue grows around the stent to incorporate in into the blood vessel
wall. Within one month's time, the body no longer "sees" the stent,
and the medication is no longer needed. You should continue to take Aspirin,
if it has been prescribed, along with other antiplatelet medications.
Rotational Atherectomy widens narrowed arteries using a high-speed
rotational device to "sand" away plaque. This technique is used in
particular situations, such as with plaque with large amounts of calcium or
to widen blockages within a stent.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Stent
A new, minimally invasive treatment is available at Capital
Region for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) – a bulge in the wall of the
body’s largest artery. The AneuRx stent graft is a modular system that
expands to fit within the diameter of the aorta, providing a new path for blood
flow and reducing the pressure on the aneurysm, thereby preventing rupture.
Implanted through a delivery catheter into the femoral artery in the upper thigh,
the system is guided through the aorta by a process called fluoroscopy to the
location of the aneurysm.
The procedure is just as effective as open abdominal surgery
but reduces the risk of major complications by half. Other benefits for patients
include a faster recovery time and reduced hospital stay.