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Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to open coronary arteries clogged by plaque buildup, increasing the flow of blood to the heart muscle. The incision made during an angioplasty procedure is very small. The doctor uses cameras and X-ray machines to guide the catheter to the coronary artery with the blockage. Typically, the patient remains conscious during the procedure. 

What to expect during this procedure

  • After sedation, a catheter is inserted through an artery in the groin and guided into the blocked coronary artery.
  • Once the catheter reaches the coronary artery blockage, the cardiologist inflates a balloon at the end of the catheter to break up the fatty plaque by pushing it against the artery wall.
  • The catheter is then removed, and blood can once again flow through the artery to the heart.

What to expect after this procedure

  • You will be moved to an area where your heart rate, pulse and blood pressure will be closely monitored.
  • The catheter insertion site will be checked for bleeding, and you will be given medication for discomfort.
  • Pain is minimal and recovery times are rapid. You usually can start walking within 4 to 8 hours after angioplasty.
  • The average hospital stay for most procedures is one to two days.
  • It is not uncommon for arteries to re-clog after angioplasty because of scar tissue or a recurrence of plaque buildup. If you do experience another blockage, a surgeon typically will perform another angioplasty or a different procedure to clear the artery. 

Returning home
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician’s office.

This procedure is offered at these facilities:

To find a physician visit our Find a Doc or call (502) 629-1234 for a physician referral.

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