Angioplasty & Stenting in Patchogue, New Hyde Park & Hicksville
Non-Surgical Heart Disease Treatments
Plaque buildup can reduce the inner diameter of coronary arteries, which limits the amount of blood funneling through the vessels and, in turn, slows blood flow to and from the heart. While some cases require bypass surgery, heart surgeons can often remove dangerous plaque with a less invasive procedure called angioplasty.
At Brookhaven Heart, our certified cardiologists offer ample experience and expertise in safely and effectively opening clogged arteries. Through an initial angiogram to identify the location of blockages, an angioplasty procedure, and (in some cases) the insertion of heart stents, our caring cardiologists will help your blood flow freely and set you back on track to a healthy life.
What is an Angiogram?
Doctors use angiography to take pictures of your arteries. Angiograms can capture images of arteries throughout your body: a peripheral angiogram, for example, allows doctors to see arteries that supply blood to your legs, while a coronary angiogram provides images of the arteries in the heart.
When performing angiography, doctors use cardiac catheterization. A camera-equipped catheter inserted through an artery in the groin, arm or leg transmits images to a computer screen, where your cardiologist can observe the blood vessels in real-time and identify the exact location of any blockage or narrowing.
What is Angioplasty?
After identifying a blockage, your doctor can perform an angioplasty to open the artery wall and increase blood flow. In an angioplasty, a small balloon attached to the tip of the cardiac catheter inflates, stretching the vessel wall and condensing some of the plaque to increase the inner artery diameter. Once the artery is open, your cardiologist will deflate and remove the balloon. For some patients, a simple angioplasty will be enough to restore proper blood flow.
As plaque builds up in coronary arteries, obstructed blood and oxygen flow to the heart can result in angina or heart attack. Angioplasty may be the best way to dilate the affected artery and restore proper blood flow. During a laser angioplasty procedure a thin, flexible catheter is inserted into the coronary artery through either the femoral artery in your leg or the radial artery in your wrist. The catheter guides the laser on its tip to the site of the blockage. Once there, the laser will begin emitting pulsating beams of light to vaporize the plaque blocking the artery into gaseous particles. Occasionally, laser angioplasty is used in conjunction with balloon angioplasty. This will flatten the remaining plaque the laser missed against the walls of your artery, allowing for even more blood flow. This is called laser-assisted balloon angioplasty. The restenosis rate (narrowing of an artery after a restorative procedure) for laser angioplasty is comparable to that of balloon angioplasty, but the long-term results are still being reviewed.
Balloon angioplasty is a common method for addressing clogged arteries and is normally used in conjunction with the placement of a stent. A deflated balloon attached to the tip of a catheter is inserted into your arteries either through the femoral artery or the radial artery, just as in the laser angioplasty. Once the catheter has reached the area blocked by plaque the balloon is inflated, perhaps several times, to dilate the artery and compact the plaque against the walls. At this point, the doctor may also choose to insert a stent into the affected area, permanently dilating the artery and preventing plaque from obstructing the passage of blood cells. A balloon angioplasty procedure may be effective enough, but in most cases, a stent is also needed to maintain long-term blood flow to the heart. Restenosis is still possible but not as likely with the inclusion of a stent.
Angioplasty Stenting Procedure
A stent is a small, flexible tube that acts as a type of scaffold to support your coronary artery from the inside. A balloon catheter, placed over the guiding wire, puts the stent into a narrowed coronary artery. Once we have the contraption in place, we can inflate the balloon. The stent itself will expand to the size of the artery, holding it open. The balloon is then deflated and removed while the stent remains in place. Over the next several weeks, the stent will allow your artery to heal around it, ensuring smooth flow and operation.
We typically install a stent during angioplasty to ensure that the coronary artery remains open. Our stents are made of metal and are built to be permanent within the body. This procedure is performed to determine whether the coronary arteries have narrowed over time and, in many cases, whether the actual heart valves are functioning correctly. Stenting allows your body to keep the blood flowing smoothly.
Angioplasty Stenting Recovery
As with any procedure, it’s crucial that you follow your doctor’s orders and instructions during the recovery process after angioplasty stenting. The recovery period typically lasts anywhere from few days to a few weeks. First, you’ll recover in the hospital. Within four to six hours, you’ll be able to walk on your own without support. Some patients may remain at the hospital overnight for observation. Embrace the time — use it to relax and promote good health for the foreseeable future.
Your recovery at home is typically more laidback. You’ll usually receive a discharge the day after your procedure. Some people are sent home that very day. We’ll recommend avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a couple of weeks after the operation. For more detailed instructions, talk to your doctor. Consider asking:
- How much exercise you may complete
- What medicines to take
- Signs of infection to watch for
- When to schedule a follow-up
Carotid Artery Stenting
The two carotid arteries – one on each side of your neck – supply blood to the brain. Over time, these arteries may become narrowed or damaged due to plaque buildup. If the plaque breaks, it will often cause a blood clot in the artery. Should the clot move to the brain, it may cause a stroke. At Brookhaven Heart, we opt for carotid artery stenting to open a narrowed carotid artery. The procedure involves a small, flexible tube – a stent – that we insert into the narrowed artery.
Stenting helps to do the following:
- Open the artery and improve blood flow
- Ensure the artery remains open after the balloon is deflated and removed
- Prevent the wall from collapsing or closing
- Prevent small chunks of plaque from breaking off and causing a stroke
Renal (Kidney) Angioplasty and Stent Placement
A renal angiography is a procedure in which our physicians examine the arteries and veins of the kidney to properly diagnose a blockage or blood vessel issue. During the process, your doctor will insert a thin tube, known as a catheter, into the artery by way of a small incision. This allows us to diagnose blood vessel narrowing or blockages. In many cases, stents can open the narrowed vessel and prevent blood clots or plaque breakage.
At Brookhaven Heart, we perform stent placements and angioplasty for our patients so they may lead better lives. A blocked renal artery may lead to serious health complications. That’s why we highly recommend that you seek medical attention from our physicians immediately.
What are Cardiac Stents?
If an angioplasty does not open the artery enough, your cardiologist can insert a metal mesh tube into the area opened by the balloon. This tube, a cardiac stent, will force the artery to remain open. Your cardiologist will then deflate and remove the balloon, leaving the stent in place.
Can Angioplasty Cure Coronary Artery Disease?
This common question isn’t a yes or no answer. Instead, it is an involved one. It is safe to say that an angioplasty helps to diminish coronary artery disease, but it is not a standalone cure. In addition to angioplasty, the patient should also make lifestyle changes that encourage healthy heart activity and consider heart medications. Angioplasty is a worthy option for C.A.D., but it doesn’t stand on its own as a cure.
Ask Brookhaven Heart
If you have questions about angioplasty, cardiac stents or other heart disease treatments, contact Brookhaven Heart today.
New Hyde Park: (631) 654-3278
Email us directly via our online form.
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