Angioplasty, Stenting, Atherectomy

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedures performed to improve blood flow in the arteries. The most common type of procedure in the heart is coronary angioplasty with stent placement. In an angioplasty procedure, a balloon tipped catheter is placed into an area of blockage and inflated to stretch open the vessel and push the plaque outward against the artery wall. The balloon is then deflated and removed from the body. Usually after a balloon is used, a stent is placed. A stent is better at holding back the plaque and keeping the artery open. Stents are mesh tubes usually made up of a combination of metals (cobalt, chromium, stainless steel, platinum). Some stents have medications on them (drug-eluting stents) while others do not (bare-metal stents). Stents come in all different lengths and diameters. The type and size of stents that are used are individualized for each patients needs. A stent procedure usually takes 1 to 2 hours.

After you have an angioplasty procedure, you will have to be on bed rest for a couple of hours if the artery in the groin is used. You will be admitted to the hospital for observation overnight and then most likely be sent home the next morning. You will have some limitations in physical activity for about a week but then will be able to resume a full active life.

Rotational Atherectomy

Sometimes when a blockage is very hard and calcified, balloon and stents cannot be placed into the artery. The physician may use a device called a rotational atherectomy catheter to break up the calcium. The procedure is performed with an olive shaped diamond burr which rotates at extremely high speed and works like a sander to pulverize the obstruction into harmless microscopic particles that are washed away by the blood. Rotational atherectomy is used only in a small minority of coronary interventions when the plaque is too hard to open up with balloons. 

To learn more about the services provided by Westchester Heart and Vascular please contact us at:

866-WMC-HEART (866.962.4327).