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Blood Clots and Angioplasty

Blood clots may develop during angioplasty; however, angioplasty does not usually cause serious blood clots. Angioplasty can, in rare cases, result in larger clots that can cause serious problems when they partially or completely block blood flow to an organ. One very dangerous type of blood clot is called a pulmonary embolus, which occurs when a blood clot travels to the lungs. This makes it difficult for the lungs to provide oxygen to the rest of the body. Blood clots are usually treated with blood-thinning medications and, in extreme cases, surgery.

An Overview of Blood Clots and Angioplasty

Developing a blood clot within a blood vessel is a potential complication of angioplasty. A blood clot is a collection of blood material that clots into a ball inside a blood vessel. Because your body has ways to deal with blood clots, most are not serious (or even noticeable).
 
Your doctor will make every effort to minimize the chance of you developing a serious clot. Blood clots can become dangerous when they break off from the wall of a blood vessel and travel to various organs. The clot can then partially or completely block blood flow in one of these organs, causing the organ to have a decreased blood supply past the site of the blockage. This eventually can lead to significant damage to that organ.
 
Small clots are usually not a significant problem; however, larger clots can cause serious problems. One very serious type of blood clot is called a pulmonary embolus. A pulmonary embolus is formed when a blood clot from the leg or pelvis breaks off and travels to the lungs. This causes abnormal blood flow through the lungs, making it more difficult for the lungs to provide oxygen to the rest of the body. If the clot is too large, loss of life from a pulmonary embolus is possible.
 
Blood clots are usually treated with blood-thinning medication and extra days in the hospital. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot.
 
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Coronary Angioplasty

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