Angioplasty is used to re-open coronary arteries that have become narrowed by atherosclerotic plaque. This procedure is used to treat blocked coronary arteries as well as arteries in other parts of the body. Angioplasty requires only local anesthesia and sometimes mild sedation (relaxing medications). Patients typically spend the night in the hospital and are able to return to normal activity in a day or two.
During balloon angioplasty, a thin tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery in the groin. A tiny balloon is then passed through the catheter and is guided to the narrowed area(s), where the balloon is expanded to stretch open the artery.
In most cases, angioplasty is followed by the insertion of a stent – a metallic tubular mesh that acts as a scaffold, holding the artery open. Coronary stents come in various sizes to match the size of the artery in which the stent will be placed. The stent, which is mounted on a small balloon, is guided to a coronary artery, and is expanded by inflating the balloon. The stent is left permanently in the artery.
NewYork-Presbyterian uses the latest in stent technology, including drug-coated stents whenever possible to reduce the risk of another blockage developing in the artery. We are also involved in clinical research to develop new stents.