-June 07, 2022
Everything To Know Before An Angioplasty Procedure
Angioplasty or coronary angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to open blocked arteries and restores blood flow toward the heart. It is a quick procedure that prevents the chances of heart attack or failure in the future.
Before angioplasty, your doctor will do an angiogram to look for blockages in the arteries. If blockages are around 80% or more, angioplasty will be performed to open them.
Here’s an informative blog on everything you should know before an angioplasty.
When is Angioplasty needed?
When fat deposits accumulate in the heart’s blood vessels, it disrupts oxygen-rich blood flow. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
These deposits develop when the inner lining of an artery is damaged. Multiple reasons cause this damage, such as:
- High levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
- High Blood Pressure
- Sedentary Lifestyle
All these reasons directly or indirectly cause damage to the heart arteries. Gradually, the fat builds up and blocks the blood flow towards the heart. This medical condition is known as coronary artery disease.
In this case, a person can face symptoms like:
- Heart attack (on complete blockage)
- Angina (Chest pain)
- Shortness of breath
It is to be noted that Angioplasty is required when:
- Medications and lifestyle changes have not improved your condition.
- If you had a heart attack.
- Your chest pain is worsening.
Angioplasty Procedure in a Glimpse:
During an angioplasty procedure, your doctor will make an incision through your wrist and insert a catheter to guide it to the blocked artery. Next, an angioplasty stent is placed to open up the narrowed artery.
To know everything in detail, here is our related blog: What is Angioplasty? Types and Complications | Medpho
Angiogram VS Angioplasty
Patients with the above symptoms often hear two terms in the hospital; angiography and angioplasty. Where angioplasty is a treatment procedure, angiography is a diagnostic test.
An angiogram is an x-ray that rules out the presence of blockages in the arteries. It helps the doctor look for the location and how much percentage of a blockage has spread. After the diagnosis, your doctor will suggest an angioplasty procedure to open up the blocked arteries.
Preparation Before Angioplasty
Before a scheduled angioplasty procedure, your doctor will examine your medical history and prescribe some tests like blood tests, chest x-ray, and electrocardiograms. If not already done, he will also do an angiography to see if you need an angioplasty at the moment.
In most cases, if your doctor finds out blockages, he will perform an angioplasty and stent placement immediately during angiography. However, in other cases, an angioplasty can be done after a few days in non-urgent cases.
Apart from this, there are certain things you need to know, such as:
- Your doctor will explain the detailed procedure in advance.
- You or a family member will sign a consent form. Please read it carefully and ask questions in case of any confusion.
- Notify your doctor about all the supplements or medications you take or allergies you have.
- Your doctor will ask you to stop or adjust certain medications like blood thinners before the procedure.
- You will change into hospital clothes.
- You will have to stop eating or drinking anything at least 6-8 hours before angioplasty.
- The incision area will be shaved before the procedure.
Besides, you can always ask questions from your doctor. It is always best to stay informed and avoid confusion before the procedure.
Here’s another related blog: Why Are Heart Attacks More Common In The Winter?
A coronary angioplasty is a smooth process that can take 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the patient and other factors. However, once done, you will be kept in a separate unit where doctors and nurses will monitor your health for the next 24 hours.
A lot of patients are worried about the angioplasty cost. The angioplasty price depends upon various factors such as the choice of hospital, facilities, infrastructure, etc.
Angioplasty is an advanced procedure that has several advantages over traditional heart procedures. It opens up blocked arteries and reduces the risk of heart attack and heart failure in the future.
If you notice any symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, or breathlessness, consult an emergency department immediately. The sooner you reach a hospital, the sooner you will get treated.
FAQs on Angioplasty
1. Is angioplasty painful?
You will be given local anesthesia or a sedative before the procedure. Moreover, during the angioplasty procedure, you might feel pressure when a catheter is inserted into your vein. You will also feel discomfort when the balloon is inflated and inserted. However, you might not feel sharp pain during the entire procedure.
2. Is angioplasty a major surgery?
No, angioplasty is a smooth and quick procedure that doesn’t involve any big or multiple incisions, major bleeding or stitches. Unlike traditional open-heart surgeries, there is no or minimum pain involved, and the recovery pain is also quick.
3. What is the difference between a stent and angioplasty?
Both stent and angioplasty are related to each other but are completely different. The angioplasty procedure uses a stent (metal mesh tube) to open up a blocked artery.
4. How much rest is required after angioplasty?
After an angioplasty procedure, a patient requires a rest of at least 8-12 hours in the monitor room. Here, doctors and nurses monitor the health of patients closely.
5. Is life normal after angioplasty?
Angioplasty is not a major surgery, but it does change a patient’s life. Life remains completely normal, but the patient has to take care of himself. He has to take prescribed medicines regularly, gradually start exercising and take care of his diet.