Opens Coronary Artery Blockage

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that opens a blockage in a coronary (heart) artery to improve blood flow to the heart. Arteries become blocked due to a condition called atherosclerosis—a buildup of plaque on the arteries' inner walls.

Atherosclerosis can happen in any artery; when it affects the coronary arteries, the heart is deprived of oxygen-rich blood. This is called coronary artery disease (CAD). In coronary angioplasty, doctors insert a tightly folded balloon into the blocked artery and then inflate it to widen the artery and allow blood-flow to the heart.

How Does Angioplasty Help?

Angioplasty may be used to:

  • Improve symptoms of CAD, such as angina and shortness of breath.
  • Reduce damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when blood-flow through a coronary artery is completely blocked. Angioplasty is used during a heart attack to open the blockage and restore blood-flow through the artery.
  • Reduce the risk of death in some patients.

Every year, more than one million people in the United States undergo angioplasty. Serious complications are rare, although they may occur in some cases.

Find a Doctor for Cardiovascular Care

For more information about the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina, call 803-641-5551. To make an appointment with a cardiologist, please contact our free physician referral line at 803-761-6970.