Angioplasty Chapter 1
When Arteries Become Blocked (VIDEO)
People who need angioplasty have blocked arteries, caused by a condition called atherosclerosis. Take a trip inside the vessels to see how they become blocked, the role cholesterol plays, and why it's a matter of life and death to increase blood flow.
Step inside the OR to see an angioplasty procedure in action. Watch Dr. Peter Fail thread a tiny coil of metal called a stent through an artery in a patient's leg and up into the heart itself, creating a new flow of blood. Read more
Your heart is a hollow, muscular organ whose only job is to pump blood throughout your body. Because every cell in your body must have a never-ending supply of oxygenated blood, your heart never sleeps. It beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping 6 qts of blood through the 65,000 miles of vessels that comprise your circulatory system, 3 times every minute. Read more
Atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease, is largely caused by having an unhealthy lifestyle. It develops when we eat too many high-carb and fatty foods, smoke, are overweight, don't get enough exercise, or don't control diabetes and high blood pressure. Read more
If you have symptoms or risk factors for heart disease, your doctor can use different tests to evaluate heart function and detect blockages. Electrocardiograms, or EKGs, can show if the heart has been damaged. Exercise tolerance tests, also known as stress tests, measure the heart's ability to supply the body with oxygen. Read more
Once the catheter is in place, the contrast dye is injected through it to help the doctor look at the blockage on the angiogram. After the injection of dye the patient may feel a warm flush spreading throughout the body. Read more
When an angiogram reveals a blockage in a coronary artery, the doctor may decide to perform an angioplasty, sometimes directly following the angiogram. Angioplasties may be done to expand a partially blocked artery or during or after a heart attack when the need to open blocked vessels is critical. Read more
Angioplasties are considered procedures, not surgeries. Major complications are uncommon, but as with all medical procedures, there are a number of possible risks and complications.
The risk involved in an angioplasty also depends on where in the body the procedure is performed. An angioplasty in the carotid arteries can pose the very serious risk of embolisms: iny blood clots, traveling to the smaller blood vessels of the brain, becoming lodged there, and causing a stroke. Read more
With atherosclerosis, there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that atherosclerosis may be slow in developing, but its end results can be debilitating and often fatal. But the good news is that you have the power to prevent and even reverse atherosclerosis by changing the ways in which you live, work, and play. An active, healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense against atherosclerosis. Read more
Your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. It pumps continuously without pause until the day you die. It is also the only muscle in your body that can work without signals from the brain. The regular beating of your heart is automatic. Read more
Related Health Centers:
Aneurysm and Stent, Angioplasty, Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Continuum, Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis, Coronary Bypass Surgery, Heart Attack and Angina, Hypertension, Stroke, Thrombosis and Embolism, Women and Cardiovascular Health
The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.