When the water does not flow properly out of the kitchen sink, the plumber generally repairs it by clearing the pipes. The same process is done by a heart specialist, when your arteries become blocked and this process is called as angioplasty. This is actually a short form for the medical terminology Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty or PTCA. Even though, many people feel it to be a surgical procedure, it is actually a non-surgical procedure that unblocks your arteries with the help of catheter or tube-like structure with a small balloon attached to its tip. This procedure is actually stated as an alternative to Coronary Bypass Surgery and it requires a day or two stay in hospital and the recovery time will be about a week. If your health care provider has suggested you to go for an angioplasty procedure, here are some details about what to expect during this procedure:
On the day of the procedure, your heart rate will be monitored by placing small electrode pads on your chest. Then, a local anesthesia will be given for inserting a sheath into one of the arteries in your leg. Then, a flexible tube known as guide catheter is then corded through the coronary artery. There will be a special screen to capture the X-ray images and to get these images a dye or a contrast agent will be injected into the catheter. These X-ray images will be helpful for the doctor to identify the actual place of blockage.
What happens once the blockage spot is identified?
Once the doctor identifies the spot of blockage, a small catheter with a small deflated balloon at the tip will be sent into the guide catheter. As soon the catheter reaches the spot, the balloon will be blown for about 30-120 seconds, such that the artery wall will stretch open. The balloon will be inflated and deflated several times. As soon as the catheter with the balloon in the edge is removed, special pictures known as angiograms will be taken to identify the improvement of flow of blood through the artery. Once this is ensured, the guide catheter will be removed and average time taken for this procedure is one and half hours.
As advancement to this procedure, a tiny cylinder of webbed steel known as coronary stent is used. This stent is placed inside the artery for forming a stiff gallows that provides support to the sides of the artery. This stitch will help in keeping the artery open. As the most recent introduction, the stitches are done with time-release drugs to keep the arteries open.
What to expect during recovery period?
Once the procedure is completed, your heart will be kept under monitor for about half to one day. Foot pulses, important signs and the place in which the procedure was conducted will be monitored frequently. You will be suggested to tell about any discomfort or pain experienced after the procedure. After the procedure, the sheath will be left in your leg artery for four to 24 hours. You will be allowed to move your leg only after 6 hours of removing the sheath. You will be discharged from the hospital in a day or two and most people return to their normal work schedule the following weak itself.