Angioplasty, Life-Saving Heart Disease Sufferers

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to open blockages or narrowing of the heart’s blood vessels. After undergoing angioplasty, the life expectancy of a person who has been or is at risk of heart attack may increase and the risk for subsequent cardiac arrest may diminish.

Angioplasty aims to increase blood flow to the heart. This mechanism is done by entering and inflating small balloons in the blocked portion of blood vessels to help broaden the channel. This procedure is actually included in the treatment of heart disease, especially in patients over 65 years.

Angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small wire tube called a stent or ring. Some types of rings are coated with medicines that will help keep blood flow in the blood vessels open. Mounting rings aims to open the walls of blood vessels and prevent them from re-narrowed.

Role of angioplasty

In general, angioplasty is a procedure done to address the following health disorders.


To correct the obstruction of blood flow to the heart in patients with atherosclerosis, the symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the walls of blood vessels occurring due to the buildup of fat plaque. Angioplasty is performed if with lifestyle changes or medications can not relieve symptoms.

Cardiac arrest

It can be done during a heart attack to open heart vascular blockage and reduce the risk of damage to the heart.

How does angioplasty do?

Medical history, results of physical examinations and supporting examinations will be considered by doctors before this procedure is conducted. The patient will undergo a coronary angiogram to determine the precise location of the narrowing of the blood vessels and know for certain that the narrowing or blockage that occurs can be handled by angioplasty.

Angioplasty is performed through cardiac catheterization, by making small incisions on the skin of the limbs, arms or wrists, so that a small catheter can be inserted into the blood vessels to the blocked or narrowed heart veins. The balloon at the end of the catheter will be inflated and flaned several times in the blood vessels, until the wall of the vessel is completely inflate. Then the catheter is removed. Chest pain can occur during the angioplasty process because when the balloon is developed, the blood flow to the heart is slightly obstructed. During the procedure, the patient will be drugged but still aware and the heart recording device will monitor the patient’s heart rate.

Once the angioplasty process is complete, the patient’s heart will be monitored in the hospital for some time, so that the patient must undergo hospitalization. When discharged, patients are usually advised to drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities. Try to always consume prescribed medicines, such as aspirin and the like.

The patient should immediately consult the doctor if: the area where the catheter is inserted is painful, becomes reddish, swollen, hot, or bleeding. Likewise, if it experiences shortness of breath, chest pain, or feeling faint.

This procedure cannot be done in all people who have heart disease. Some people who are experiencing the following conditions are advised not to undergo angioplasty:

  • Narrowing occurs in the main blood vessels that bring blood to the left heart.
  • Weak heart muscle.
  • Suffer from more than one disease that attacks blood vessels.
  • Suffer from diabetes.
  • There is more than one blockage of blood vessels.

In the above situation, it is better to do the heart bypass surgery (coronary), i.e. surgery performed to create a new channel using blood vessels from other parts of the body, so that the blood flow to the heart is smooth again.

Angioplasty also has risks

Although it is considered able to save patients with heart disease, angioplasty also has risks, namely:

  • Repeated narrowing of the arteries. Angioplasty that is done without stents can cause this opportunity up to 30 percent.
  • Can form a blood clot in the ring after the action finishes. This clumpy blood can clog the heart’s blood vessels and cause a heart attack.
  • Bleeding on the legs or arms at the catheter location is inserted.
  • Heart attack while undergoing procedure.
  • Kidney disorders Due to the contrast substance used when angioplasty and ring installation, especially in people who have already had a kidney disorder.
  • Heart vascular damage during the procedure.
  • The plaque can escape from the vascular wall when the catheter enters the blood vessel, and clog the blood vessels in the brain thereby causing the stroke.
  • Heartbeat that are too fast or too slow when undergoing angioplasty.
  • Allergic reactions to the contrast material used in the procedure.
  • Death from a heart attack or stroke.

Undergoing angioplasty does not mean heart disease has disappeared. This action will make the symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pain diminish, but can still reappear at any time. If the angioplasty is already able to cope with the disturbance that occurs in the heart, there is no need to do a heart bypass surgery that requires a large incision in the chest and a longer recovery stage.

So that you do not have to undergo angioplasty, it is important to maintain health by quitting smoking, maintaining ideal body weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and exercise regularly.