Is angioplasty an invasive procedure?
No, angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that involves a tiny incision, and usually does not require general anesthesia. It is done to improve the blood flow in a blood vessel blocked due to plaque buildup.
Angioplasty involves cardiac catheterization, which is the insertion of the catheter through which iodine-based contrast dye is injected into your coronary arteries.
You will be given medications for sedation, but you will be awake during the procedure. You will also receive anticoagulants through an intravenous line in your arm. Then, a catheter is inserted into your blood vessel through a small incision made on your wrist or groin region.
With the help of live X-rays, the catheter is then guided to reach your heart and contrast dye is injected to highlight the blockage. Another catheter with a balloon tip will be inserted over a guidewire and the balloon will be inflated to open up the blockage. Sometimes, a small mesh tube called stent will be placed in the artery to maintain it open. Once the catheters are removed, the opening in your wrist or groin will be closed with a bandage.