Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting
Learning that you have blocked or narrowed coronary arteries can be upsetting. This condition increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Fortunately, nonsurgical treatments can open arteries and improve heart health. Specialists at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute expertly use catheter-based, minimally invasive procedures to clear blocked arteries.
What is angioplasty and stenting?
Angioplasty and the placement of a drug-eluting or bare-metal stent is a type of coronary intervention that takes place inside the arteries. Over time, a drug-eluting stent releases medicine that prevents the buildup of plaque inside the artery. Angioplasty and stenting are particularly helpful for people with chronic total occlusions, or severely blocked arteries. These coronary interventions can be simple or complex.
During this nonsurgical procedure, your physician:
- Inserts a catheter (long, thin tube) with a balloon on the tip through the femoral artery in your groin
- Guides the catheter to the artery to be treated
- Gradually inflates the balloon to open the narrowed artery
- Places a permanent, small mesh coil called a stent into the artery to keep it open
What is an atherectomy?
When traditional angioplasty can’t remove stubborn plaques, your physician may recommend atherectomy. The AHN Cardiovascular Research Institute helped develop this catheter-based technology.
During this procedure, your physician uses a laser or small, rotating, drill-like device to shave off plaque deposits from inside the blocked artery. A special protective shield captures the shavings, which your physician removes via a catheter.