Complications of Balloon Angioplasty

Minor complications of balloon angioplasty can include bleeding, abnormal heartbeat, and nausea and vomiting. In most cases, these complications are temporary and easily treated by your doctor. Major complications include such things as stroke, heart attack, and artery reclosure. However, it is important to note that balloon angioplasty has been performed safely since 1941 with successful results and limited complications.

An Introduction to Complications of Balloon Angioplasty

No procedure is completely free of risks. However, balloon angioplasty has been performed safely since 1941 with successful results and limited complications.
 
We will now discuss the possible minor and major complications that can develop during balloon angioplasty.
 

Minor Complications of Balloon Angioplasty

Minor complications of balloon angioplasty may include:
 
  • Temporary pain
  • Minor infections
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding
  • Reaction to medication or dye
  • Allergic skin reaction to tape, dressings, or latex
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Bruising or scarring at the catheter entry site.
     
Minor complications of balloon angioplasty are, in most cases, temporary and are often easily treated by your healthcare providers.
 

Major Complications of Balloon Angioplasty

There are also a number of possible major balloon angioplasty complications that can occur. These are uncommon. However, your overall health will play an important part in the complication rate of this procedure. For example, the average risk of having a heart attack during angioplasty is 5 out of 10,000 patients. In seriously ill patients, the risk increases to greater than 10 in 10,000 patients. In healthier patients, the risk decreases to 1 in 10,000 patients.
 
Major complications from balloon angioplasty include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Serious bleeding
  • Heart or lung problems, including:
o Irregular heart rhythms
o Lung or heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Artery reclosure
  • Blood vessel, nerve, or organ damage
  • Blood clots
  • Failure of medical equipment
  • Serious allergic reactions to medication or dye
  • Kidney failure (possibly requiring dialysis)
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
     
Depending on your situation, a major complication may lead to a longer hospital stay, coronary artery bypass surgery, intra-aortic balloon pump surgery, or insertion of a temporary pacemaker. In extreme cases, major complications may cause permanent disability or even loss of life. Loss of life associated with this procedure, however, occurs in about 1 in 1,000 procedures.
 
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