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Allina Health facilities with angioplasty

Interventional procedures...

Angioplasty

Angioplasty — also called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) — is the method used to open a blood vessel to improve blood flow by stretching a vessel from the inside and sometimes placing a stent to help keep it open.

  • Percutaneous means that the procedure is done through the skin.
  • Transluminal means that it is done inside the artery.
  • Coronary means that it is an artery of the heart.

Angioplasty helps more blood flow through your coronary arteries. If you have this procedure, here is what to expect:

  1. A cardiologist will use a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) with a tiny balloon at the tip. He or she will guide the catheter through a leg or arm artery.
  2. The tube is guided through the arteries of your body to the blocked heart artery.
  3. The balloon is slowly inflated many times.
  4. The inflated balloon squeezes the build-up of plaque against your artery wall and slightly stretches the vessel to improve blood flow.
  5. After the procedure, the balloon is removed from your body.

In some cases a cardiologist may use a medical laser to remove blockage. This procedure is called laser angioplasty.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648
Reviewed by: Daniel Lips, MD, Minneapolis Heart Institute® (video); Allina Health's Patient Education Department (manual)
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 09/01/2010