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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ANGIOPLASTY

WHAT IS ANGIOPLASTY?

Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. These blood vessels are called the coronary arteries. A coronary artery stent is a small, metal mesh tube that expands inside a coronary artery.

WHAT IS CORONARY ANGIOPLASTY?

Your heart’s arteries can become blocked or narrowed from a buildup of cholesterol, cells or other substances (plaque). This can reduce blood flow to your heart and cause chest discomfort. Sometimes a blood clot can suddenly form or get worse and completely block blood flow, leading to a heart attack. Angioplasty opens blocked arteries and restores normal blood flow to your heart muscle. It is not major surgery. It is done by threading a catheter (thin tube) through a small puncture in a leg or arm artery to the heart. The blocked artery is opened by inflating a tiny balloon in it.

ANGIOPLASTY IS RECOMMENDED TO WHICH AGE GROUPS?

There is no particular group for angioplasty. It will be do for any age group. In general, artery blockage mostly seen in between 50-60 Age group people. But present days, do to life style changes like smoking blockage are seen below 40 years age group.

WHAT ARE THE STANDARD TESTS FOR CORONARY DISEASES?

The condition of heart blockage or narrowing of arteries due to build up of plaque is confirmed by different diagnostic tests. Initially, the doctor may recommend for ECG, 2D Echo, TMT and X-Ray Chest view. Later to confirm further on blockage(s) the doctor may suggest for coronary angiogram which is an advanced test. Based on the findings of the angiogram test, the doctor may advice for medications or angioplasty.

TWO MISCONCEPTIONS IN PEOPLE ABOUT ANGIOPLASTY

Does block condition really requires angioplasty?

Angioplasty is not recommended for all blocks. The real problem is with intermediate lesions/blocks that include 50-70 percent blockage. So, an objective assessment needs to done to know the severity of the blockage. If the blockage is determined as intermediate after angiogram, objective assessment is done to confirm the need for angioplasty. The objective assessment includes Nuclear Scan, FFR and EVIS tests. As patients in India have little access to insurance, they question about objective assessment’s availability and affordability. However, at many instances the doctor considers the angiogram’s report as final to decide on angioplasty or suggest medications.

What is better for the patient, angioplasty or bypass surgery?

On the question of whether angioplasty can be recommended or bypass surgery, the doctor makes a detailed assessment of risks and benefits on case to case basis. Patients believe that placing a stent in the affected area may lead to re-blockage in the future, so by-pass is a better option than angioplasty. It is to be understood that, the rate of re-blockage of the affected varies from case to case. The choice between angioplasty and bypass surgery is decided by the number of blockages, history of blockages, risk and complications of each procedure.

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