If you think you're having symptoms of a heart attack, seek emergency medical care immediately by calling 911. Learn the symptoms of a heart attack in men and women.
Coronary intervention, more commonly known as angioplasty (balloon dilation) or stent placement, is a nonsurgical procedure used to open narrow or blocked coronary arteries. During the procedure, a doctor inserts a small, flexible tube (catheter) through the arm or upper thigh and into the artery to restore proper blood flow to the heart.
At Riverview Health, cardiac doctors perform angioplasty to restore a normal level of blood flow through the coronary arteries. If you have heart disease (coronary artery disease, or CAD for short), your doctor may recommend angioplasty to treat the buildup of plaque. A blood clot that has completely blocked the flow of blood through an artery can be treated by angioplasty.
In cases of heart attack, a doctor may perform angioplasty as an emergency treatment. You may need angioplasty and/or a stent if your doctor finds a blockage while diagnosing your heart attack.
A cardiologist will perform your angioplasty in a catheterization (cath) lab at Riverview Health. You will be sedated during the procedure so you won’t feel any pain.
During the procedure, a catheter will be inserted into an artery, usually in your groin or waist. With the help of X-ray imaging, your doctor will feed the catheter up to the blocked artery, and then inject a special dye called contrast to get a clear picture of the artery on X-rays. Once the catheter is positioned in the right place, a thin wire is used to cross the blockage. Then, a small balloon is pushed over the wire to the blockage and inflated to push the plaque aside in order to improve blood flow.
Angioplasty usually takes 30-60 minutes. You’ll need to lie still on your back for a few hours after the procedure, and likely stay overnight in the cardiac care unit.
Your doctor will recommend that you rest for several days after the procedure. In most cases, you’ll be able to return to work and other activities within a week. Talk with your doctor about when it’s safe to start exercising or performing other types of strenuous activity. Cardiac rehabilitation may be part of your recovery process.
To receive the care you need, start by finding a primary care physician at Riverview Health by calling 317.565.0525 or by completing our online form.
Riverview Health evaluates and treats a wide array of heart conditions for people living in Noblesville, Carmel, Cicero, Fishers, Sheridan and Westfield, IN.