Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) or angioplasty is a
specialized procedure used to clear blockages within the coronary
arteries—arteries that supply the heart muscle. Depending on the
location and severity of the blockage and the patient’s specific risk
factors, a balloon, as well as a stent or a stent with medications
embedded within it, are utilized during the procedure.
An angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked arteries. A catheter with a special balloon is inserted into the coronary artery at the site of narrowing. By inflating the balloon, it opens and stretches the artery slightly, allowing blood to flow freely once more.
What is a Stent?
Stents are metal coils or tubes that are used to try and improve the results of your angioplasty procedure. Placement of the stent is a continuation of the angioplasty. As the balloon inflates, the stent enlarges and presses up against the sides of the blood vessel. Once the balloon is deflated and removed from the blood vessel, the stent is left behind to hold the walls of the blood vessel fully open. Once the stent is embedded in the wall of the artery, it will not move and you will not be aware of its presence. However, some discomfort or angina is normal as the stent is deployed/expanded. Make sure to inform your doctor or nurse if you are having any symptoms during your PCI.
Individuals wishing more information on PCI on angioplasty, can read the Angioplasty: Information for Patients brochure.
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