Invasive Non-Surgical Treatments
Therapeutic procedures completed in the cardiac catheterization laboratories include balloon angioplasty and stenting.
Angioplasty is a technique used to dilate, or widen, narrowed arteries. A catheter with a deflated balloon on its tip is passed into the narrowed part of the artery. In balloon angioplasty, a catheter is inserted into an artery. When in place, a tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated, fracturing the plaque inside the artery wall and opening the blockage and reopening the blood vessel.
The coronary stent is a relatively new tool used to keep coronary arteries expanded, usually following angioplasty. Since the stent will be placed inside an artery, the device comes in various sizes to match the size of the artery. After angioplasty, when the artery is widened, the stent catheter is threaded into the artery and placed around a deflated balloon. When this is correctly positioned in the coronary artery, the balloon is inflated, expanding the stent against the walls of the coronary artery. The balloon catheter is removed, leaving the stent in place to hold the coronary artery open.