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What is Angioplasty?

Angioplasty, also known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, is a surgical procedure to improve blood flow by opening a clogged or narrowed artery. The procedure involves using a tiny balloon catheter to stretch open the blocked blood vessels and prevent damage to the heart. Most patients suffering from chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, weak heart muscles, and an increased risk of a heart attack often benefit from an angioplasty procedure.

There are different types of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) that can be recommended for different cardiac disorders. Types of angioplasty include -


Why Undergo Angioplasty Procedure?

Angioplasty is used to treat the build-up of fatty plaques in the coronary arteries. While mild to moderate symptoms can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes, angioplasty is effective in treating chronic symptoms which are immune to non-surgical methods. A patient may have to undergo an angioplasty procedure if - 

  • The chest pain (angina) keeps getting worse
  • In case of a heart attack (angioplasty is done as an emergency surgery)
  • Congenital heart conditions
  • Weak heart muscles
  • The main artery that brings blood to the left side of the heart is narrow 
  • Multiple blockages in the arteries
  • Severe diabetes

When Should I Consult The Doctor For Angioplasty Procedure?

Get in touch with a cardiologist if you are diagnosed with coronary artery disease or in case of a heart attack. Angioplasty can also be effective for treating blocked or narrowed arteries in other body parts such as your neck, arms and legs, kidneys, and pelvis.

How To Prepare For Angioplasty Surgery?

Before the angioplasty procedure, the cardiologist reviews the medical report and recommends diagnostic tests to determine the cause and extent of the blockage. Subsequently, the doctor also provides a set of pre-surgery tips to help you prepare for the surgery and prevent any complications. Here are a few tips before the angioplasty procedure to ensure a smooth surgery and a quick recovery-

  • Discuss your history of medical condition(s) and surgical procedures with the cardiologist
  • Stop smoking and consuming alcohol a week before the surgery as they can increase the recovery time
  • Inform your doctor in case you have a history of bleeding disorders
  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes which do not put pressure on the surgical site
  • Do not eat or drink 8 to 9 hours prior to the surgery. It is generally recommended to not take any meal post-midnight. 
  • Inform your doctor of any ongoing medications and history of an allergic reaction to anesthesia to avoid complications during the surgery
  • Take antibiotics or prescribed medications prior to the surgery as directed by the doctor
  • Once prepared, you or your guardian needs to sign a consent form that gives full authority to proceed with the procedure. So be sure to resolve all your queries regarding the procedure.

What Happens During The Angioplasty?

An angioplasty procedure can be done as an elective procedure or in case of an emergency. Depending on the severity of the congestion and the locations, the surgeon may choose the most effective procedure. The anesthesiologist gives anesthesia before the procedure to sedate the patient. Subsequently, the surgeon makes a small incision in blood vessels in the arm, wrist or groin area and inserts a thin tube (a catheter). Then, a tube is threaded through these vessels all the way to the heart using x-rays as a guide. 

A small deflated balloon attached to the other end of the tube is replaced with the former tube. The surgeon then guides the balloon inside the blockage and inflates it to expand the narrowed arteries or push the plaque flat against the artery wall. This makes the artery wider and improves blood flow. At times, the surgeon may also put a small, mesh tube (stent) into the artery to keep it open. Some stents have a coating of medicine that helps prevent blood clots from forming.

Recovering After the Angioplasty

After the procedure, you will be shifted to the recovery room where the doctor will monitor your recovery process. A medical team will keep a check on your vitals such as blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, etc. and watch for signs of infections. Subsequently, the doctor will also give you dietary tips and preventive measures for a swift and smooth recovery. Here are some recovery tips which can help you prevent complications after the surgery - 

  • Quit smoking and consuming alcohol
  • Stay physically active
  • Keep your cholesterol levels under check
  • Encourage a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Take regular medications as prescribed by the doctor
  • Go for regular health check-ups

Why Choose BM Birla for Angioplasty Treatment in Kolkata?

BM Birla Heart Research Centre is a super speciality hospital with modern infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology in Kolkata. BM Birla Heart Research Centre is the only hospital offering super speciality cardiac care in the entire eastern India. With a 200+ bed capacity, cardiac rehabilitation services, cath labs and modular OTs, BM Birla Heart Research Centre has made a mark with its singular focus on the treatment of a variety of cardiac ailments. Here are a few advantages of choosing BM Birla Heart Research Centre for angioplasty treatment in Kolkata:

  • Highly qualified and experienced cardiologists
  • Cutting-edge technology and the latest medical equipment
  • Transparent pricing structure for cost-effective treatment. 
  • Patient-centric high-quality care for a high success rate

Get in touch with our expert heart specialists at BM Birla Heart Research Centre, Kolkata for complete cardiac care. 


Whom should I consult for my angioplasty procedure?

Get in touch with a cardiologist if you are experiencing chest pain, breathing issues, and other symptoms of congested arteries. Cardiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the heart. Since clogged arteries are common in older people, it is advisable to consult a cardiologist who specializes in treating patients with co-morbidities to ensure negligible chances of complications.

What conditions are treated by angioplasty?

Depending on the severity of the cardiac disorder, the doctor may recommend angioplasty to - 

  • Reduce chest pain from coronary artery blockage
  • Limit damage to the heart after a heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Chronic kidney disease

What are the benefits of angioplasty?

The advantages of the angioplasty procedure include - 

  • Minute incisions
  • Almost invisible scars
  • Minimal bleeding during the procedure
  • Negligible risk as compared to the traditional procedure
  • Faster recovery
  • Fewer chances of recurrence of heart conditions

When can I return to work after my angioplasty procedure?

You must be able to resume your work or daily routine one week after the angioplasty surgery. However, depending on the patient’s recovery period, the severity of the condition, and the type of surgery, it can take longer to return to work. Consult a cardiologist before resuming your work to avoid complications.

Are there any side effects after an angioplasty surgery?

Consult a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following after your angioplasty procedure - 

  • Abnormal bleeding around the surgical site where the catheter was inserted
  • Intense pain or discomfort at the surgical site
  • Signs of infection like swelling, redness, drainage or fever
  • A feeling of fainting or weakness
  • Developing chest pain and breathing issues


Anita Das

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