What is Angioplasty: Purpose, Existing Types, Risks and Benefits


It is a term that describes a procedure used to widen narrowed vessels by stenosis or occlusion. There are several types of angioplasty. The specific names of these procedures are derived from the type of equipment used and the path to the blood vessel.

In the event that an angioplasty affects the coronary arteries, the entry point could be the femoral artery in the groin, with the catheter system (guidewire passing through the aorta to the heart) and the origin of the coronary arteries at the base of the aorta just outside the aortic valve.


Angioplasty is performed to reopen a partially blocked blood vessel so that blood can flow through it at a normal rate.

In patients with an occlusive vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis , the flow of blood to other organs or remote parts of the body is limited by narrowing of the vessel’s light due to fatty deposits or patches known as plaque.

Once the vessel has been enlarged, an adequate blood flow is restored. The procedure may not be repeated over time in the same place, however, it may be necessary to repeat the procedure. For some patients, thrombolytic therapy (treatment with drugs that dissolve blood clots) is an alternative

Types of angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty

Using a catheter with a balloon attached, the doctor inserts where the coronary arteries branch to the heart. Once the catheter is placed over the obstruction, the interventional cardiologist inflates the small balloon.

The pressure causes the artery to be blocked in order to divide and compress it, molding it against the artery wall, and restoring blood flow to the plaque. Once the obstruction is removed, the doctor deflates the balloon and removes the catheter.

Often, a stent mesh tube is placed in the artery during the procedure. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands, supporting the wall of the artery and reducing the chances of the artery becoming blocked again.

Sometimes a drug-eluting stent is used to release drugs into the artery and prevent the artery from becoming blocked with the scar tissue.

Laser angioplasty

Some blocks are too long or too complicated for the balloon technique to be effective. In this case, the doctor may choose to use laser angioplasty.

The laser directs a fresh beam towards the blockage through a catheter in the coronary artery. The cold beam of the laser causes the plaque causing the obstruction to evaporate, changing it to gases and water. Balloon angioplasty can be followed by balloon angioplasty.

Risks of angioplasty

At present, angioplasty is a very safe procedure and complications are not frequent. Sometimes, placing a catheter inside an artery can damage it and cause bleeding, even if the artery is not damaged, it can present a purple at the site where the catheter was inserted.

The purple or bulging may cause pain, but this usually disappears in a few days or a week.

Some patients may become ill as a result of the injection of iodinated contrast, however, this is common in patients with diabetes, kidney problems, asthma, or previous allergic reactions to contrast.

Benefits of angioplasty

This procedure can open blocked arteries, restore blood circulation to tissues, and relieve symptoms without the need for surgery. And most importantly, avoid a heart attack that can cause the death in most cases.