A highly advanced procedure that helps increase blood flow to your heart
Angioplasty is an approximately two-hour procedure in which your Hurley Medical Center cardiologist advances a balloon to your heart and into a coronary artery that is partially or totally blocked by plaque. Plaque is a collection of fatty deposits inside the artery that adhere to the arterial wall. Blood cells can collect at that site causing complete blockage, which can result in a heart attack. The balloon is inflated and restores blood flow to your heart muscle. Sometimes a metal coil called a stent is placed to hold the artery open.
This procedure is done electively to address abnormal stress testing, abnormal ECG, angina, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chest pain, or confirmed coronary artery disease. It is also done as an emergency procedure when a heart attack or chest pain cannot be relieved with regular medical treatment.
Before the procedure
Have nothing to eat or drink except a small sip of water with medications for 12 hours before your procedure. Take a shower the night before or the morning of the procedure, using antibacterial soap. Plan to be at Hurley Medical Center for approximately one to three days. Your Hurley doctor’s office will give you other instructions as necessary. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to seafood, shellfish, or dye (the dyes we use contain iodine). Arrange for someone to take you to and from Hurley Medical Center.
During the procedure
Plan to arrive at Hurley Medical Center one to two hours prior to your procedure. An IV line will be placed in the vein of your arm, and the area of the access site will be shaved. Relaxation medications will be given to you prior to your going into the catheterization lab. Once you’re in the catheterization lab, the access site is cleansed and a sterile drape is placed over you. Your EKG tracing, blood pressure and oxygen levels will be monitored continuously during the entire procedure.
After relaxation medications are given through an IV, your Hurley cardiologist will apply a local anesthetic to the site where your artery will be punctured. Small tubes are then passed through the site and guided to your heart using x-ray, and iodine-based dye is injected into the artery. X-rays allow the cardiologist to look for blockages in the arteries. A special tube will be passed to the pumping portion of your heart and a large injection of dye will be given. This will cause you to feel a brief burst of warmth throughout your body.
After the blockage is found, a small catheter called a balloon catheter is guided to the blockage. Blood thinners are used during the procedure to prevent blood clots. Compressing the plaque with the inflated balloon opens the artery. After the blood flow is re-established, a metal coil may be placed. Once the procedure is finished, a tube will remain in the access artery. A sterile dressing will be applied, and you will return to Hurley’s post-procedure unit.
After the procedure
Because blood thinners are used during the procedure, the tube in your artery may stay in for up to six hours. During that time and after the tube comes out, you must lie flat in bed with the affected leg/arm straight. Pain medications will be given as needed. The arterial site will be checked frequently and Hurley nurses will monitor your EKG continuously. When the tube is out and the bed-rest period is completed, you can get up and should walk around. You will be discharged in one to three days.
Follow up with your Hurley physician in seven to ten days. Remove the dressing after 24 hours and place a Band-Aid on the site. Check the site daily. You may shower after 24 hours. Gently clean the site and change the Band-Aid daily for one week.
DO NOT TAKE A TUB BATH OR USE A HOT TUB FOR ONE WEEK.
Avoid climbing stairs for one week. Do not lift over 10 pounds for one week. Resume your medication and normal diet as instructed by your Hurley doctor. Do not drive during the 48 hours after the procedure. Drink plenty of fluids for the first 24 hours to flush out the dye. You may return to work only when your Hurley cardiologist approves.