Coronary angioplasty

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
If you've been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, which is a blocking of one or more of the arteries that nourish the heart, your doctor may recommend coronary angioplasty (an-jee-o-plass-tee). A relatively new treatment for the symptoms of coronary artery disease, angioplasty uses a catheter (kath-ah-ter) or tube with a balloon at the end to gently compress blockages and widen the openings of the coronary arteries. In most cases, the result is improved blood flow to the heart. The angioplasty procedure itself takes only an hour or two and is done under local anesthesia. You may feel some twinges in your chest when the balloon is inflated, but once the blockage is compressed, the pain should disappear. You will need to rest quietly for a few hours after the procedure, and you can generally go home in a few days, if your blood tests, E-K-G, and blood pressure are back to normal. Following this procedure, you'll probably need to see your doctor from time to time for a stress EKG to measure how well your heart functions under exertion. You may also be asked to take medications to help your arteries to heal. There are usually few restrictions on your activity level. Not everyone is a candidate for coronary angioplasty. Some blockage or damage is so severe that angioplasty cannot be performed. For more information. contact your health care provider.

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