Angioplasty is an invasive procedure which includes mechanical widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. These changes of blood vessels generally occur as a consequence of atherosclerosis. During the procedure an empty and collapsed balloon on a guide wire (a balloon catheter) is passed into the narrowed blood vessel. What follows is inflation of the balloon to a fixed size. The balloon mechanically removes the fatty deposits (crushes them) and widens the blood vessel which consequently leads to better blood flow. After the desirable effects are achieved the balloon is deflated and removed. In order to prevent recurrence of plaque doctors use stents. These artificial tubes do not allow build-up of plaque and allow blood to flow normally.
In the Unites States angioplasty is performed in more than 1 million people each year. Apart from balloon angioplasty there are several more types of angioplasty and they include laser angioplasty, atherecomy and coronary stenting.
As in any other invasive procedure apart from benefits there are also certain side effects. This is why all the patients who undergo angioplasty must be introduced to all the positive and negative effects of the procedure.
Advantages of Angioplasty
The most significant advantage of angioplasty is removal of the blockage from the arteries. It is effective in both, partial or total removal of the plaques from the affected blood vessels. Furthermore, by getting rid of the plaques the blood flow in the particular blood vessel is improved. This subsequently improves the symptoms associated with insufficient supply of blood of the certain body part. The most significant improvement is achieved in case of coronary heart disease. Angioplasty is also good for prevention of heart attack. The procedure carries less risk comparing to open heart surgery. It also provides with long term positive effects since once the stents are placed into the affected artery they keep the artery open and prevent regrowth of plaque.
Disadvantages of Angioplasty
It is estimated that only 5-65 of all patients actually face some side effects of the procedure and lethal outcome is reported in 1% out of all patients.
The most common side effects of angioplasty are bruising and bleeding at the site of a catheter insertion. In people with underlying kidney disorders angioplasty may induce certain problems. One more side effect is allergic reaction to dyes administered during the procedure. The risk is generally increased in people older than 75 and in patients suffering from diabetes, extensive heart disease and those with blood clots in coronary arteries. The procedure also carries risk of damage to the nearby blood vessels and heart valves. And finally, in some cases re-narrowing of the arteries is possible.