Heart Disease Home > Angioplasty

An angioplasty is a medical procedure used to open a blocked coronary artery (an artery that provides oxygen to your heart muscle). After the procedure, your doctor may insert a device called a stent to keep the artery open for a longer period of time. In most cases, this procedure is safe and effective. If complications occur, they can include nausea, minor infections, and temporary pain.

What Is Angioplasty?

Balloon angioplasty (also known as just angioplasty) is a procedure that allows your doctor to open blocked coronary arteries, which are the arteries that provide oxygen and nutrients to your heart muscle. Often, an expandable device, called a stent, is inserted into your blocked artery after the procedure. Stents can help the artery remain open for a longer period of time. Your doctor's choice to perform an angioplasty or insert a stent is based on the type and location of your blockage.
In addition to being effective, this procedure is safe and well tolerated in most cases.
(If you would like information on the procedure itself, click Angioplasty Procedure.)

Preparing for the Procedure

Preparing for angioplasty involves arranging transportation and not eating or drinking for eight hours before the surgery. Also, your doctor should give you detailed instructions on how to prepare. During the procedure, dye is injected into the coronary arteries; this helps the doctor to see any blockages. If the doctor locates a blockage, he or she will prepare for balloon angioplasty or the placement of a stent. Both of these procedures allow the artery to stay open for a longer period of time after the surgery.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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