Angioplasty, a Lifesaver for Heart Diseases

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to open blockages or narrowing heart blood vessels.After undergoing angioplasty, hope for lifep a person who has had or is at risk of having a heart attack may increase and the risk for another heart attack may decrease.

Angioplasty aims to increase blood flow to the heart. This mechanism involves inserting and inflating a small balloon over the blocked blood vessel to help expand the channel. This procedure is actually common in the treatment of heart disease, especially in patients over 65 years.

Angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small wire tube called a stent or ring. Some types of rings are coated with drugs that will help keep the blood flow in the veins open. The purpose of the ring is to open the walls of the blood vessels and prevent them from narrowing again.

The Role of Angioplasty

In general, angioplasty is a procedure performed to treat the following health problems.

  • Atherosclerosis

To improve the blockage of blood flow to the heart in people with atherosclerosis, whose symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the walls of blood vessels that occurs due to the buildup of fatty plaques. Angioplasty is done if lifestyle changes or medications can't relieve symptoms.

  • Heart attack

Can be done during a heart attack to unblock the heart's blood vessels and reduce the risk of damage to the heart.

How is Angioplasty Done?

Medical history, physical examination results and supporting examinations will be considered by the doctor before this procedure is carried out. The patient will undergo a coronary angiogram to determine the exact location of the narrowed blood vessel and know for sure that the narrowing or blockage that occurs can be treated with angioplasty.

Angioplasty is performed through cardiac catheterization, by making small incisions in the skin of the leg, arm or wrist, so that a small catheter can be inserted into a blood vessel leading to a blocked or narrowed heart blood vessel. The balloon at the end of the catheter will be inflated and deflated several times in the vein, until the vessel wall is completely inflated. Then the catheter is removed. Chest pain can occur during angioplasty because when the balloon is inflated, blood flow to the heart is slightly blocked. During the procedure, the patient will be sedated but remain conscious and a heart recorder will monitor the patient's heart rate.

After the angioplasty process is complete, the patient's heart will be monitored in the hospital for some time, so the patient must be hospitalized. When allowed to go home, patients are usually advised to drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities. Try to always take prescribed drugs, such as aspirin and the like.

Patients should see a doctor immediately if: the area where the catheter was inserted is painful, becomes red, swollen, feels hot, or is bleeding. Likewise, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, or feel weak.

This procedure cannot be performed on everyone who has heart disease. Some people who experience the following conditions are advised not to undergo angioplasty:

  • The narrowing occurs in the main blood vessel that carries blood to the left heart.
  • Weak heart muscle.
  • Suffering from more than one disease that attacks the blood vessels.
  • Suffering from diabetes.
  • There is more than one blood vessel blockage.

In the above situation, it is better to do heart bypass surgery (coronary bypass surgery), namely surgery performed to create new channels using blood vessels from other parts of the body, so that blood flow to the heart returns smoothly.

Angioplasty Too Have Risk

Although considered to be able to save patients with heart disease, angioplasty also has risks, namely:

  • The occurrence of recurrent narrowing of the arteries. Angioplasty performed without a ringstent) can lead to up to a 30 percent chance of doing this.
  • Blood clots may form in the ring after completion of the procedure. This blood clot can clog the arteries of the heart and cause a heart attack.
  • Bleeding in the leg or arm where the catheter was inserted.
  • Heart attack while undergoing the procedure.
  • Renal impairment due to the contrast agent used during angioplasty and ring placement, especially in people who already have kidney problems.
  • Damage to the blood vessels of the heart during the procedure.
  • Plaque can separate from the walls of blood vessels when the catheter is inserted into the blood vessels, and block blood vessels in the brain, causing a stroke.
  • A heartbeat that is too fast or too slow during an angioplasty.
  • Allergic reaction to the contrast material used in the procedure.
  • Death from heart attack or stroke.

Having an angioplasty doesn't mean heart disease has disappeared. This action will reduce the symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pain, but can still reappear at any time. If angioplasty is able to overcome the problems that occur in the heart, there is no need for heart bypass surgery which requires a large incision in the chest and a longer recovery stage.

So that you don't have to undergo angioplasty, it's important to stay healthy by quitting smoking, maintaining an ideal body weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and exercising regularly.