Coronary Angioplasty: How and When is it Done

After an Angiogram, depending upon the lesion Angioplasty is recommended. It is also advised in cases of emergency like after a Heart Attack.

Angioplasty is fairly an easy procedure. It takes anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours. In some cases it can take more than 2 hours.

Before Angioplasty:

If your doctor has advised for Angioplasty then a general health check up and blood test is done. Theses are done to ensure your body is operable. After everything is found normal green signal is given.

Before Angioplasty, you are not supposed to eat for 6 to 7 hours. Regarding medication, you can take them normally until the previous day of Angioplasty procedure. Any further information, depending upon your health, your cardiologist will advise.

Angioplasty Procedure:


Angioplasty is done in a catheterization lab. You will be asked to lie on an X-ray table. A heart monitor and IV line is fitted. Local anesthesia is used to numb your skin.

An incision is made under your groin. A sheath (small tube) is inserted into the artery to keep it open. Within this sheath a catheter is passed through your artery into left or right coronary artery guided through X-ray imaging.

A thin wire with a ballon at its tip is passed through the catheter. The wire is further guided towards blockage and ballon is inflated and then deflated. This causes the lesion (plaque) to be squashed. The procedure might be repeated for several times.

Ballon is inflated for 20 to 30 seconds. During this period you will miss or have an extra heart beat. Mild pain in the chest is also normal. If you feel uncomfortable, tell your cardiologist.

When procedure is finished, the wire, catheter and sheath are removed. the incision is closed through pressure or plug.

After Angioplasty:

Usually you will stay overnight after procedure. After you are discharged the necessary advice for your recovery is provided.

The incision will be sore for few days. If you notice bleeding rush to the hospital and let your cardiologist or General physician know.

You shouldn’t drive within the recovery period. Heavy weight lifting and strenuous work is prohibited until you recover completely.



Stent (wire-mesh tube) maybe recommended. In this case, the stent is placed above the ballon and inflated. After ballon is deflated the stent keeps the artery open.

There are two types of Stents:

  1. Bare Metal and
  2. Drug-eluting

Bare Metal Stents:

This type of stent has no coating. Once in place it helps the artery to heal asap. However, the problem is that these type of stent get blocked again. Bare metal stent are viewed as foreign agents and immune system attacks it creating a block within the artery. To avoid this problem Drug-eluting stents are used.

Drug-eluting Stents:

This type of stents are coated with medication. After being placed within the artery, coated medication gets dissolved over a period of time which prevents any immune system attack and further blocking. The only downside is that coronary arteries do not heal asap.

Today 70% of cardiologists use Drug-eluting stents. You can discuss with your cardiologist and depending on the risk and beneficial factor choose type of stent.