Heart Disease Home > Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Alternatives
Balloon Angioplasty and Stents as Beating Heart Bypass Surgery AlternativesThe two alternative procedures, balloon angioplasty and placement of a stent, do increase blood flow to the heart. During a balloon angioplasty, a flexible plastic tube, or catheter, is inserted into the blocked coronary artery. Then a small balloon is expanded inside the blockage. This usually opens up the artery and lets blood flow through it again.
The blocked section may also be kept open by putting in a piece of wire mesh tubing, called a stent. This keeps the walls of the artery apart after the blockage has been opened. Stents may be used instead of, or in addition to, a balloon angioplasty. However, these two procedures are not an option for everyone.