Balloon Angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty is a nonsurgical procedure that opens coronary (heart) arteries that have become narrowed by plaque (fatty tissue).

Your physician may recommend balloon angioplasty as an alternative to open heart surgery.

What You Need to Know

  • Your cardiologist makes a small incision in your groin or arm and then inserts a balloon catheter.
  • When the catheter reaches the narrowed area of your coronary artery, your cardiologist slowly inflates the balloon.
  • The balloon squeezes the plaque against the wall of the artery, making bigger the diameter of your artery until blood can easily flow through it.
  • Your cardiologist deflates the balloon and removes the catheter.
  • This procedure takes from one to several hours to perform.
  • You usually have a short hospital stay in the Post-Interventional Unit.

Variations on Angioplasty

  • Rotablation is similar to balloon angioplasty but uses a special device with a rotating blade to shave plaque off of your clogged artery wall.
  • Rotational burr atherectomy reduces the shaved plaque to microscopic particles that are eliminated through the bloodstream.

Additional Procedure - Stents

Angioplasty alone may not completely restore the blood flow in your coronary arteries. In that case, your cardiologist may use a stent (small tube) to prop open the artery.

The stent is sent to your artery through the catheter used in angioplasty, positioned in the blocked area and expanded. The stent stays in place permanently to keep your artery open.

The Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute was one of the first in the nation to offer a drug-eluting stent to treat blocked coronary arteries.

Next Steps with MyChart

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