An angioplasty opens up blocked or narrowed blood vessels with minimally invasive surgery. During the procedure, the interventional radiologist places a catheter (a small tube) into your blocked or narrowed artery. There is a balloon on the end of the catheter. When the balloon is in the area of the blockage, the doctor inflates the balloon. Inflating the balloon stretches out the artery, improving blood flow through the area. The interventional radiologist uses x-rays and x-ray dye to help guide the catheter into exactly the right place.
Reasons for an Angioplasty
An angioplasty relieves artery blockage or narrowing that stops oxygen or blood from flowing to the tissues that need it.
Causes of artery blockage include:
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), from fat and cholesterol build-up
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
- Blood clot
Artery Blockage Symptoms
The symptoms you feel depend on which artery is blocked. For example, a blocked artery in the legs may cause pain when you walk or even when you are resting in bed. A blocked artery to a kidney may cause high blood pressure. A blocked artery to the intestines can cause pain in your stomach when you eat.
Blockages are treated with surgery, angioplasty or a combination of the two.