Angioplasty and stenting procedures are performed in the catheterization lab (or “cath” lab) of a hospital. You will lie on a table and be mildly sedated to help you relax and take away any pain, but you will remain awake throughout the procedure.
Angioplasty is a procedure in which a thin tube called a catheter is threaded through an artery to the site of a blockage in that artery. The interventional cardiologist (a physician with special training in using catheters for cardiovascular procedures) who is performing the procedure opens and closes a small balloon at the tip of the catheter. This balloon pushes aside the blockage in the artery and restores blood flow. Then the catheter is used to insert a stent - a metal, mesh tube - in the artery to prop it open.
Though you will be awake, you will feel little pain throughout the procedure beyond perhaps brief discomfort when the angioplasty balloon is inflated or when your doctor starts the procedure. The insides of your arteries do not contain nerve endings, so you cannot feel the catheter