|Balloon angioplasty is a highly effective and widely used procedure in the fields of interventional cardiology and vascular surgery. By widening narrowed or blocked blood vessels, it helps restore blood flow, alleviate symptoms, and improve organ function. It is a minimally invasive alternative to major surgeries, offering shorter recovery times and fewer complications. It is essential to consult with Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer, vascular specialist to determine the suitability of arterial treatment best for you.|
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition that requires intervention, you may have come across the term “balloon angioplasty.”
It is a minimally invasive procedure commonly used to treat narrowed or blocked blood vessels. It has revolutionized the field of vascular surgery and has become a standard treatment option for blocked or narrowed peripheral arteries.
In this blog post, we will explore five important facts about the procedure that you need to know, providing you with valuable insights into the procedure and its benefits.
What Is A Balloon Angioplasty Procedure?
Balloon angioplasty is a procedure used to widen narrowed or blocked blood vessels. During the procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the affected artery.
At the tip of the catheter, there is an inflatable balloon. The balloon is guided to the narrowed or blocked area under fluoroscopic, or x-ray guidance. It is then inflated to compress the plaque or fatty deposits against the artery walls, effectively widening the vessel and restoring blood flow.
What Are The Five Facts?
There are five facts you should know if you ever have to consider having the procedure. These facts will put your mind at rest that you are receiving the best possible treatment for your cardiovascular condition:
- Minimally Invasive Procedure: The procedure to treat narrowed or blocked arteries is minimally invasive. Compared to traditional open vascular surgeries, it offers several advantages, including smaller or no incisions, reduced pain, shorter recovery times, and lower risk of complications.
- Widely Used for Various Conditions: it is a versatile procedure and is used to treat a range of conditions affecting different blood vessels in the body. It is commonly employed for coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral artery disease (PAD), and renal artery stenosis to improve blood flow to the kidneys and treat hypertension.
- Adjunctive Treatments: In many cases, the procedure is performed in combination with other treatments to optimize the results. It can also be combined with atherectomy, a procedure to remove plaque from the artery walls, or with open vascular surgery in more complex cases.
- Short Recovery Time: One of the advantages is the much shorter recovery time and return to full activity compared to traditional surgeries. In most cases, patients can expect to leave the hospital a few hours after the procedure.
- Potential Risks and Complications: While the procedure is generally safe and effective, there are potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. However, the risks are relatively low, and healthcare professionals take precautions to minimize them.
The specific details of the procedure and recovery will be determined by the healthcare provider based on individual circumstances.
Who Needs Balloon Angioplasty?
The procedure is often recommended for individuals with various cardiovascular conditions, including:
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a cardiovascular condition characterized by the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. CAD typically develops due to atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque buildup consisting of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances occurs within the artery walls.
Over time, the plaque deposits can restrict blood flow to the heart, leading to various symptoms such as chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, fatigue, and in severe cases, heart attack.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside the heart and brain, primarily the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet. It is caused by the narrowing or blockage of these arteries, leading to reduced blood flow to the lower extremities.
PAD is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque within the artery walls. Plaque consists of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances. As the plaque accumulates, it narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow.
This can result in various symptoms, such as leg pain or cramping during physical activity (claudication), leg numbness or weakness, slow-healing sores on the legs or feet, and coldness or discoloration of the affected limb.
- Renal Artery Stenosis
Renal artery stenosis refers to the narrowing of one or both renal arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the kidneys. This condition can lead to reduced blood flow to the kidneys, potentially resulting in various complications.
The narrowing of the renal arteries can lead to decreased blood flow to the kidneys, which triggers several physiological responses. The kidneys may perceive the reduced blood flow as a sign of low blood pressure and activate mechanisms to increase blood pressure. This can result in hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a common consequence of renal artery stenosis.
Signs and symptoms of renal artery stenosis can vary depending on the degree of narrowing and the extent of kidney involvement. Some individuals may experience hypertension that is difficult to control with medications, while others may have episodes of flash pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs) or worsening kidney function.
What Symptoms Does Balloon Angioplasty Address?
It is suitable for patients who have narrowed or blocked blood vessels that are causing symptoms such as:
- Chest pain (angina),
- Leg pain during walking (claudication), or
- Decreased kidney function or hypertension.
However, the decision to undergo the treatment is based on a thorough evaluation by a cardiologist or vascular specialist.
When Do You Need A Balloon Angioplasty?
The main goal is to restore blood flow to the affected area, relieving symptoms and preventing further complications. By widening the narrowed or blocked blood vessels, It improves oxygen and nutrient supply to the following parts of the body:
- the heart
- legs, or
- kidneys, depending on the location of the blockage.
This can alleviate symptoms, such as chest pain or leg pain, and improve overall organ function. Additionally, it can be performed as part of a larger treatment plan, including the placement of stents or removal of plaque to help maintain the vessel’s openness.
Is Balloon Angioplasty A Major Surgery?
It is considered a minimally invasive procedure, which means it is not classified as a major surgery. Unlike traditional open-heart surgeries or vascular surgery, it does not require a large incision or the use of a heart-lung bypass machine.
Instead, it involves the insertion of a catheter through a small puncture site, often in the groin or wrist, minimizing the risks associated with major surgeries. This approach offers several advantages, including reduced postoperative pain, shorter recovery times, and fewer complications.
How Long Will The Procedure Last?
The duration of the procedure can vary depending on several factors, namely:
- the complexity of the blockage and
- the number of blood vessels involved.
Generally, the procedure itself typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour. However, it’s important to note that the overall duration of the hospital stay may vary. Some patients may be discharged on the same day, while others may require an overnight stay for monitoring and recovery.
Speak to Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer — a Leading Vascular Surgeon of Choice in Northeast Ohio
Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer is a vascular surgeon and vein expert based in Youngstown, Ohio with services provided in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana Counties.
With his vast expertise in cardiovascular disease, he can help you with your health concerns. Book your consultation with Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer today