Coronary Angioplasty: Pros and Cons
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: June 23, 2015
What is coronary angioplasty and stenting?
During an angioplasty, your doctor inflates a small balloon within your blocked blood vessel, improving your blood flow by widening the space that your blood has access to pass through. In some cases, a device called a stent, which is essentially a piece of wire mesh, is placed inside of the vessel in order to keep it open and continue promoting healthy blood flow even after the procedure is over. The procedure is generally utilized in order to treat coronary heart disease, but can also be used in certain life-threatening emergencies as well.
Angioplasty and stenting were designed to be minimally invasive alternatives to coronary bypass grafting surgery (CABG), the latter of which carries a much higher risk for complication. Complications are much less common with angioplasty procedures, due in part that most patients do not require general anesthesia during the procedure. Additionally, recovery is generally much simpler and patients are able to leave the hospital and resume their normal activities within a day or two. Some of the most important benefits of a coronary angioplasty or stenting procedure include:
- It can be performed during a life-threatening heart attack to restore blood flow to your heart and potentially save your life.
- It can relieve and reduce the symptoms of heart disease.
- It may reduce your risk of future stroke.
- It can improve your overall kidney function.
- It can prevent gangrene by promoting blood flow to the legs.
While complications are much less common in angioplasty and stenting procedures than they are with coronary bypass grafting surgery, patients should still be informed of the potential risks. The most common complication as a result of angioplasty is simply the necessity for a repeat procedure later on, which generally only happens if a coronary artery re-narrows. The best thing that you can do is to ensure that you follow all of your doctors instructions, and be aware of the following issues that may arise:
- Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to their stent.
- Blood vessels may become damaged wherever the catheter is inserted.
- An artery may collapse or close.
- Blood clots can form inside stents.
- The more major arteries that are involved, the greater the risk of fatal heart attack or stroke during the procedure.
- Repeat procedures may become necessary if scar tissue grows within the stent.
- If angioplasty is not adequate, a coronary bypass surgery may be necessary.
- Some patients may experience side effects to the medications given following the procedure.
While there is no “one size fits all” procedure when it comes to treating heart disease, angioplasty and stenting have proven to be a highly effective methods that, while somewhat invasive, allow patients to experience minimal pain, faster recovery, and little to no visible scarring. However, while angioplasty can be an ideal procedure for many, it is not always the best choice for every patient, and you should always discuss your options with your physician.
For further guidance on angioplasty and other coronary surgeries, or to schedule an appoinment of your own, never hesitate to contact the skilled cardiologists of Tampa Cardiovascular Associates. Simply call our offices at (813) 975-2800 and any of our friendly staff members would be happy to assist you in getting set up with one of our physicians.
Posted by: Tampa Cardio