Balloon Angioplasty & Stenting

Fat and cholesterol can accumulate on the inside of arteries and form deposits called plaque. This disease process is called arteriosclerosis. The arteries that supply blood to the brain, kidneys or legs can be narrowed or blocked by this accumulation. For example, narrowing of the arteries to the legs can cause pain while walking (Claudication) and similar disease in the arteries to the kidneys can cause high blood pressure, while plaque in the arteries to the brain (Carotid arteries) can cause a stroke.

The procedure starts with the patient lying on a padded table. Local pain medicine is given, and the catheter is then inserted in an artery (usually near the groin). The catheter is a small, hollow, flexible tube that has a balloon near the end of it. The patient is awake for the procedure, but is given sedation for relaxation and to minimize pain.The blood vessels are then visualized by using X-rays and contrast, and blockages in the vessels are identified. A balloon catheter is then inserted into the blockage and inflated, thus widening or opening the blocked vessel and restoring adequate blood flow. In almost all cases, a device called a stent is also placed at the site of narrowing or blockage in order to keep the artery open. A common type of stent is made of self-expanding, stainless steel mesh.

For additional information regarding interventional radiology, please visit www.sirweb.org.

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