Balloon Angioplasty

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Balloon angioplasty is a procedure that treats blockages within the arteries. Coronary angioplasty, also called percutaneous coronary intervention, is a balloon angioplasty procedure specifically for the arteries of the heart while peripheral balloon angioplasty is done on arteries outside the heart. Angioplasty involves moving a catheter with a small balloon through blood vessels to blocked artery. The balloon is inflated to compress the plaque that has built up within the artery and that is decreasing blood flow. The balloon is then deflated and removed from the body.

Angioplasty also may include the placement of a stent within the artery to keep the artery open. There are several types of stents used in balloon angioplasty procedures:

  • A coronary artery stent is a small coil that expands in a blocked coronary artery following balloon angioplasty and helps to keep the artery open.
  • A bare metal stent is a metal coil placed in the artery; it is absorbed by the body into the wall of the artery after a few months.
  • A drug-eluting stent is a bare metal stand covered with medication that helps to prevent the artery from narrowing again.
  • A carotid stent is used with a balloon angioplasty procedure to open the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels to the brain, and thereby lessen the risk of stroke.

The Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital provides patients with a world-class facility and expert physicians for balloon angioplasty treatment and comprehensive cardiovascular care, including coronary artery disease treatment.

Learn more about balloon angioplasty at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The latest techniques for balloon angioplasty

Alternatives to balloon angioplasty for treating coronary artery diseaseAs one of the most advanced cardiovascular care facilities of its kind, the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center offers patients the very latest in treatment techniques, including balloon angioplasty. The Center is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and is bolstered by a research program that helps physician-scientists offer patients the most advanced options for prevention, diagnosis and coronary disease treatment.

For patients with coronary artery disease, physicians at the Center may recommend other coronary disease surgery procedures in addition to or as an alternative to balloon angioplasty, including:

  • Rotational atherectomy – a procedure that cuts away plaque deposits inside the blood vessel.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (or CABG surgery) – a procedure that grafts a piece of vein above and below that blocked section of an artery, allowing blood to flow around the blockage.
  • Transmyocardial revascularization – the procedure that uses lasers to create new channels in the heart that can supply it with oxygen and nutrients.
  • Coronary endarterectomy – a procedure that strips cholesterol material away from the inner walls of the arteries. The arteries are then reconstructed, allowing the free flow of blood. Brigham and Women's Hospital is widely recognized for our expertise in performing this technique.

Learn more about balloon angioplasty and the many other services available at the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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