An angioplasty is a surgical procedure to open the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart muscle. These blood vessels are also known as coronary arteries. Doctors often perform this procedure immediately after a heart attack.
The procedure is also called a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention. In many cases, doctors insert a coronary artery stent after an angioplasty. The stent helps keep the blood flowing and the artery from narrowing again.
Having an angioplasty within the first hours after a heart attack may reduce your risk of complications. Timing can be crucial. The faster you receive treatment for a heart attack, the lower the risk of heart failure, other complications, and death.
Angioplasty can also relieve the symptoms of heart disease if you haven’t had a heart attack.
What are the benefits of angioplasty after a heart attack?
It’s an efficient way to get blood flowing to the heart again quickly. The sooner your doctor restores your blood supply, the less damage there will be to your heart muscle. Angioplasty also relieves chest pain and may prevent shortness of breath and other symptoms associated with a heart attack.
Angioplasty may also cut the odds that you could need more invasive open-heart bypass surgery, which requires a significantly longer recovery time. The National Health Service notes that angioplasty may lower the risk of another heart attack. It may also increase your chances of survival more than medications that break up blood clots.
What are the risks?
bleeding, clotting, or bruising at the point of insertion
scar tissue or blood clots forming in the stent
a heart attack
kidney damage, especially in people who have pre-existing kidney problems
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