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Angioplasty and Stenting

Angioplasty (PTCA)

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA), frequently referred to as "PTCA", is a non-surgical catheter-based procedure used to correct a narrowing or blockage of one or more coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.

The purpose of the PTCA is to improve blood supply to the heart. As a result, more oxygen-rich blood will flow through the arteries that supply your heart muscle. As you participate in the decision to have a PTCA, you are encouraged to talk to your cardiologist about concerns or questions. Your cardiologist will explain the procedure in detail, including risks and benefits.

This procedure is similar to a diagnostic heart catheterization but takes longer, with a range of one to two hours. A board-certified cardiologist performs the procedure. In addition to the cardiologist, the team includes a specialized cardiac care nurse and registered cardiovascular and radiology technologists.

Intracoronary Stenting

A coronary stent is a device used to prop open a narrowed section of coronary artery. There are a number of stent designs that are available, but all are intended to achieve the same result: to improve the blood flow to the heart muscle. Stent placement procedures are often done in conjunction with PTCA procedures.

A stent is a small, slotted metal tube composed of stainless steel, crimped on the balloon portion of a PTCA catheter. X-ray and specialized camera equipment guide the balloon catheter to the narrowed segment of coronary artery. The balloon is inflated and the stent device is expanded against the vessel wall, resulting in a wider channel for blood flow. It may be necessary to inflate the balloon several times to fully expand the stent. The balloon catheter is then withdrawn. It may be necessary to put more than one stent in place. The stent stays in place permanently, in order to maintain an open artery, and help prevent chest pain from recurring.

You will be placed on medications that help prevent blood clots from forming around the stent. You may also take medications that help improve blood supply to the heart or those that decrease the hearts demand for oxygen, or perhaps a combination of these. Your physician will discuss the best medication plan for you.