Balloon angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure used to open arteries narrowed by plaque. It offers an alternative to open heart surgery for some patients.
During the procedure, the cardiologist inserts a balloon catheter into a small incision in the groin or arm. When the catheter reaches the narrowed area of the coronary artery, the doctor slowly inflates the balloon. The balloon squeezes the plaque against the artery wall, expanding the diameter of the artery at the site of the blockage. Once the artery has been opened enough to allow blood to flow through freely, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.
Rotablation procedures are similar to balloon angioplasty, but use a special device with a rotating blade to shave the fatty tissue off the clogged artery wall. Rotational burr atherectomy is available at Central Baptist Hospital:
Rotational burr atherectomy reduces the shaved fatty tissue to microscopic particles which are then eliminated through the bloodstream.
Sometimes, angioplasty procedures don't completely restore the blood flow in the coronary arteries. When this occurs, your doctor may use a medical device called a stent to keep the artery open.
Stents are conduits made of special materials that are inserted into the coronary arteries to support the arterial wall. Before a stent is inserted, the blocked artery is opened with angioplasty. Then, using the same catheter that opened the artery, a stent is positioned in the area of the blockage and expanded. The stent remains in place permanently to hold the artery open.
The Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute was one of the first in the nation to offer a drug-eluting stent for the treatment of blocked coronary arteries.
Balloon angioplasty, rotablation and coronary stenting procedures may take one to several hours to perform. They are followed by a short hospital stay in our post interventional unit.