Basic Facts:

  • The angioplasty and stenting procedure is designed to re-open the inside of a blocked coronary artery and improve blood flow to the heart muscle. 
  • During angioplasty, a tiny balloon is inflated and deflated to crack and compress plaque buildup inside a diseased artery.
  • Once an angioplasty has widened the artery, a tiny mesh-metal tube called a stent can be placed inside the artery to prevent the artery form collapsing or being closed off by plaque again.
  • The angioplasty and stenting procedure is often done during a cardiac catherization.
Coronary Intervention

As people age, plaque can accumulate in the blood vessels of the heart, narrowing the space through which blood must flow. This process is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, because the buildup thickens artery walls. When enough plaque accumulates inside a person's coronary arteries to reduce or block blood flow to the heart, that person is said to have coronary heart disease, or CHD. 

Angioplasty is a procedure during which a physician inflates a small balloon inside a blood vessel to press against and flatten the plaque, re-opening the artery. The goal of angioplasty is to restore adequate blood flow (revascularization) through the affected blood vessel.

Angioplasty is performed by a cardiologist and a team of specialized cardiovascular nurses and technicians. It is performed through an artery in your groin, arm or wrist area. Most people who have an angioplasty also have a stent placed in their blocked artery during the same procedure. A stent which looks like a tiny coil of wire mesh, supports the walls of your artery and helps prevent it from re-narrowing after the angioplasty.

Your Virginia Heart Care Team will provide you with specific post-procedure guidelines.