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Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

What is Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)?

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty is also known as PTCA, coronary artery balloon dilation or balloon angioplasty. It is done to open up clotted arteries in the heart. Angioplasty is used as an alternative treatment to coronary artery bypass surgery. It is less invasive, less expensive, and faster to perform, with the patient usually returning home the next day. It is an effective treatment for selected patients with coronary artery disease. The fIrst angioplasty was done in 1977. Now there are approximately 2 million procedures done each year.

What Decides if an Angioplasty is Done?

When a blocked artery is suspected a cardiac catheterization is scheduled to diagnose coronary artery disease and the exact location of the blockages. Your cardiologist may then recommend a PTCA.

What is a Stent?

In most PTCA procedures a stent is placed in the area of the coronary artery that has been dilated (opened). Stents are wire mesh tubes used to prop open arteries after PTCA. The stent is collapsed to a small diameter and put over a balloon catheter. It is then moved into the area of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands, locks in place and forms a scaffold. This holds the artery open. The stent stays in the artery permanently, holds it open, improves blood flow to the heart muscle and relieves symptoms associated with a blocked-coronary artery. Stents-help to solve one of the biggest problems associated with blocked arteries that are opened by angioplasty- restenosis or reclosure of the artery. Reclosure with a stent is less than lO in 100 cases.

When are Stents Used?

A stent may be used instead of Or along with angioplasty. Stents are used depending on certain features of the artery blockage’- size of the artery and location of the blockage. Stents help 10 prevent renarrowing that occurs after balloon angioplasty.

What are Drug-Eluting Stents?

These are stents that are coated with drugs that are slowly released and help keep the blood vessel from reclosing. Rates of reclosure after angioplasty are much lower using drug-eluting stents.

Any Special Needs after PTCA and Stenting?

Patients must take one or more blood thinning agents. No MRl procedures can be done for one month. You usually can return to work in 1-2 days and return to exercising in one week.

What are Complications of PTCA?

There is a 1-2% complication rate associated with angioplasty. Most complications are related to the sitehematoma (collection of blood under the skin/muscle), thrombosis (blood clot of the vessel), and bleeding problems. Death, eVA, and MI are rare

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