Coronary Angioplasty, also referred to as Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA), is a surgical procedure used for opening clogged heart arteries. Angioplasty is the temporary insertion and inflation of a tiny balloon where the artery is clogged to help open and widen it. It is combined with the permanent placement of a tiny wire mesh tube called a stent, to help open up the artery and reduce it's chances of narrowing again. There are two types of stents: drug–eluting stents are coated with medication to help keep the artery open, and bare-metal stents.
You will be assessed before the procedure and may have blood tests and a general health check to ensure that you are suitable for surgery. A coronary angiography will be carried out to look inside your arteries to check the location of the blockages.
You will be required to fast for 4 to 6 hours before a coronary angioplasty and may be required to stop taking certain medications you may be on. You will also be required to change into a hospital gown.
You will be asked to lie on your back on an x-ray table and will be connected to a heart monitor. A local anaesthetic will be given to numb your skin and an intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your arm for you to receive pain medications and sedatives so that you will be more comfortable during the procedure.
A small incision will be made in the skin of your groin, wrist or arm, over an artery where your pulse can be felt. A small tube called a sheath will be inserted into the artery to keep it open during the procedure.
A catheter is passed through the sheath and guided along the artery into the opening of your left or right coronary artery. A thin, flexible wire is then passed down the inside of the catheter to where a small balloon is passed into the narrowed area and inflated to widen the walls of the artery.
You may experience some chest pain while the balloon is inflated but it will stop when the balloon is deflated. A stent will be inserted and left inside your artery after the balloon is deflated and removed.
Your artery is checked to ensure that it is wide enough to allow blood to flow through more easily by the injection of a contrast dye to monitor how it flows through the artery.
The sheath is left in place for a few hours or overnight before being removed. You wil be monitored for any pain or bleeding.
You will rest in a recovery room until you are well enough to go home. You may feel some pain where incisions were made but any discomfort should improve within a few days with prescribed painkillers. Antibiotics will also be prescribed to prevent and reduce the risk of an infection after surgery.
Should you feel unwell or experience pain or bleeding, contact your doctor immediately or call our 24-HR Medical Urgency Clinic (65) 6705 2999.