How is an angioplasty performed?

Angioplasty is performed by doctors threading a balloon and stent into the artery via the wrist or leg.

Dr. Frank R. Arko, MD
Vascular Surgeon

Angioplasty is a procedure that reopens blocked blood vessels to the heart. A physician inserts a hollow needle (catheter) into the diseased artery and pushes a small deflated balloon into the blocked section. Then the physician inflates the balloon to widen the artery.

Angiographic and interventional radiologic techniques are performed with injected contrast. In this instance, catheter insertion or needle placement is performed under fluoroscopic guidance so that a particular vessel or organ can be seen and, in some instances, repaired via the catheter.

During an angioplasty a catheter is threaded into an obstructed vessel. An attached balloon is inflated to increase the opening of the vessel, thus improving blood supply to the tissues. This procedure is commonly performed on vessels in the heart, abdomen, and legs. As one might expect, these interventional techniques are complex procedures, involving teams of nurses, doctors, and technologists working together.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.