Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically widening narrowed or obstructed arteries, the latter typically being a result of atherosclerosis. An empty and collapsed balloon on a guide wire, known as a balloon catheter, is passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size using water pressures some 75 to 500 times normal blood pressure (6 to 20 atmospheres). The balloon forces expansion of the inner white blood cell/clot plaque deposits and the surrounding muscular wall, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. A stent may or may not be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vessel remains open.
The word is composed of the combining forms of the Greek words ἀγγεῖον angīon ‘vessel’/‘cavity’ (of the human body) and πλάσσω plasso ‘form’/‘mould’. Angioplasty has come to include all manner of vascular interventions that are typically performed in a minimally invasive or percutaneous method.
Metal stents and drug eluting stents result in an equivalent chance of death when used for primary angioplasty of ST elevation myocardial infarction.
After angioplasty, most of the patients are monitored overnight in the hospital but if there are no complications, the next day, patients are sent home.
The catheter site is checked for bleeding and swelling and the heart rate and blood pressure is monitored. Usually, patients receive medication that will relax them to protect the arteries against spasms. Patients are typically able to walk within two to six hours following the procedure and return to their normal routine by the following week.
Angioplasty recovery consists of avoiding physical activity for several days after the procedure. Patients are advised to avoid any type of lifting, or other strenuous physical activity for a week. Patients will need to avoid physical stress or prolonged sport activities for a maximum of two weeks after a delicate balloon angioplasty.
Patients with stents are usually prescribed an anticoagulant, clopidogrel, which is taken at the same time as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin). These medicines are intended to prevent blood clots and they are usually taken for at least the first months after the procedure is performed. In most cases, patients are given these medicines for 1 year.
Patients who experience swelling, bleeding or pain at the insertion site, develop fever, feel faint or weak, notice a change in temperature or color in the arm or leg that was used or have shortness of breath or chest pain should immediately seek medical advice.