When treating atherosclerosis, even late stages, various medications are usually the first choice for treatment. On occasion, however, more aggressive treatment options are required. Narrowed arteries can often be reopened using one of two procedures: angioplasty or stenting. Due to the risks of atherosclerosis treatment, these options are usually reserved for when medications fail, or an emergency occurs.
A coronary angiogram is a particular type of X-ray procedure used by doctors to identify coronary artery blockages. This vital information allows the physician the opportunity to take action and open the arteries. During an angioplasty procedure, the doctor will first introduce a catheter into an artery in the arm or leg. The catheter is then advanced to the coronary artery.
Next, the physician will inject dye that is only visible via X-ray screens. This allows the doctor to see exactly where the blockages in the arteries are occurring. Using small balloons that are delivered over a wire the doctor will proceed to open the blockages and allow blood to flow through adequately.
Stenting – Another Option
During an angioplasty, the physician may ultimately choose to use a stent, which is a small cylinder made of wire mesh. Once the blockage has been discovered, a balloon at the end of the catheter tip will be inflated inside of the blockage to open the passageway. The physician will place a stent during the procedure, which is left behind after the catheter is removed. Stents are known to relieve chronic chest pain, or to reopen a blocked artery in the middle of a heart attack.
For more questions on angioplasty and treating atherosclerosis, contact Brookhaven Heart today by calling (631) 654-3278. We’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding treatment or your heart’s health.