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Everything You Need to Know About Balloon Angioplasty

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Everything You Need to Know About Balloon Angioplasty

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Manoj Kumar Daga | Published on 03/06/2024


Balloon angioplasty is a broadly used procedure playing an important role in treating coronary artery disease. This minimally invasive procedure involves a small balloon-tipped catheter into the narrowed artery by expanding plaque compression against the arterial walls, improving blood flow. Since heart illnesses have become a primary cause of mortality across the world, it is vital to understand balloon angioplasty is one of the common surgical procedures.

Balloon angioplasty surgery assists in minimizing symptoms such as chest pain and diminishes the heart attack risk. Every year, millions of these procedures are initiated worldwide, drawing attention to the relevance of cardiovascular care and its effectiveness in reviving artery function and improving patient quality of life. If you are diagnosed with blocked arteries and the doctor has recommended balloon angioplasty, then book your appointment with one of the best angioplasty specialist in Kolkata at BM Birla Heart Hospital. 

In this blog, you will find an in-depth look at balloon angioplasty, which involves its types, why it is performed, procedure, complications, and recovery process. However, please note that this write-up is for informative purposes and doesn’t replace the significance of a doctor’s consultation.

What is Balloon Angioplasty?

Balloon angioplasty, or percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), is a surgical procedure to open up blocked or narrowed blood vessels, mainly arteries. This technique involves inserting a small balloon-tipped catheter into the affected artery and inflating it to compress the plaque against the artery walls. Doing so restores normal blood flow, alleviates symptoms, and reduces the risk of severe cardiovascular occurrences.

What are balloon angioplasty types?

Balloon angioplasty is categorized into several types, each intended for particular medical requirements. These types include:

  • Plain old balloon angioplasty (POBA): This type is a conventional form in which a simple balloon is involved for artery dilation. 
  • Drug-Eluting balloons (DEB): Coated with medication these balloons assist in averting the artery re-narrowing by stopping cells from growing and dividing too much.
  • Cutting balloons: Integrated with tiny blades, this type involves making tiny incisions in the plaque, ensuring more efficient dilation to damage or abnormal tissues not responding to the treatment.
  • Scoring balloons: This type assists in modifying the plaque and arterial wall, enhancing the balloon's efficiency.
  • Cryoplasty balloons: In this type, cold temperatures solidify and alter the plaque, possibly minimizing inflammation and blocked blood vessels.

Why is balloon angioplasty needed?

Balloon angioplasty is often recommended for people struggling with atherosclerosis, where accumulated plaque narrows the arteries, blocking blood flow. Here are the conditions that require balloon angioplasty:

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): It causes chest pain (angina) or heart attacks.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): This leads to complications like leg pain because of blocked blood flow.
  • Renal Artery Stenosis: It affects blood flow to the kidneys, possibly causing hypertension and kidney failure.
  • Carotid Artery Disease: This enhances the probability of strokes.

What are the Complications of Balloon Angioplasty?

Usually, balloon angioplasty is a safe procedure, however, like any other surgery, it also carries certain risks or complications such as:

  • Restenosis: Artery re-narrowing after the procedure.
  • Arterial Damage: Artery wall damage during balloon inflation.
  • Blood Clots: Clots form at the site causing serious conditions like heart attacks or strokes.
  • Bleeding: At the catheter insertion site.
  • Allergic Reactions: Occur because of the dye used during the procedure or to the materials in the balloon catheter.

What Happens Before the Balloon Angioplasty Procedure?

Healthcare providers provide certain instructions before the surgery that need to be followed such as:

  • The doctor assesses the patient's medical history and performs a comprehensive physical evaluation to understand the patient’s needs.
  • Diagnostic tests like blood tests, electrocardiograms (EKG), and imaging tests to view the obstruction.
  • Patients are required to adjust their present medications if they are taking them. The doctor might ask to stop blood thinners or other drugs as recommended by the physician.
  • Patients are often asked to fast at least eight hours before the surgery.

What Happens During Balloon Angioplasty?

The steps involved in balloon angioplasty by the surgeon are:

  • Local anesthesia is given at the catheter insertion location, often in the groin or wrist.
  • A catheter is guided into the artery by inserting a sheath through to the location of the obstruction.
  • To compress the plaque against the arterial wall, a balloon catheter is guided to the constricted site and inflated.
  • Usually, a stent placement is required in certain cases so that arteries are open. 
  • The catheter is removed, and the balloon is deflated and taken out. After that, the insertion site is sealed and bandaged.

What Does Balloon Angioplasty Recovery Look Like?

Recovery from balloon angioplasty differs depending on the overall health and severity of the patient’s condition. Here are some aspects of recovery: 

  • Patients are often required to stay in the hospital for 24-48 hours so that the healthcare team can monitor their recovery.
  • Patients must ensure resting and refrain from hardcore activities for some days. 
  • One must make sure to take prescribed medications like blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and pain relievers on time.
  • It is also important to follow a healthy lifestyle such as quitting smoking, refraining from alcohol, exercising, etc. 
  • Regular follow-up appointments are important to track recovery and avert the possibility of complications.


Balloon angioplasty is a surgical procedure that substantially helps in enhancing the quality of life for people with heart or cardiovascular diseases. It is vital to understand the types, why it is performed, the possible complications, and the recovery process as it assists patients feel more informed and confident when it comes to heart health management. Patients can improve their recovery and better heart health by following medical advice and making required lifestyle changes. 

Faq -

How long does balloon angioplasty last?

The effects of balloon angioplasty might last for years, but the correct duration differs depending on factors such as patient health and lifestyle.

How long does it take to recover from balloon angioplasty?

Recovery from balloon angioplasty usually takes a few days or a week, however, complete recovery depends on the patient’s health conditions.

What are the disadvantages of balloon angioplasty?

Balloon angioplasty usually involves re-narrowing of the artery risk, possible need for repetitive procedures, and probable damage to the artery.

Is balloon angioplasty dangerous? 

Balloon angioplasty has certain risks such as artery damage, blood clots, and in rare cases, heart attack or stroke.