What is an Angioplasty

What is an Angioplasty?


Angioplasty: Types, Risks, Procedure & Cost

Angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary artery intervention (PCI), is a standard medical procedure that involves opening up blocked/narrowed arteries of the heart due to coronary artery disease. During the procedure, your doctor inserts a balloon catheter in the blocked artery to create space and widen the artery for improved blood flow. Angioplasty can be done as an emergency procedure for heart attacks or as an elective procedure if your cardiologist suspects any cardiac disease.

Why is angioplasty done?

Angioplasty is done to clear out the fatty plaque build-up in the arteries of your heart which can interrupt blood supply to the heart muscles. The procedure helps to improve symptoms of clogged arteries such as chest pain and shortness of breath.

Angioplasty may not be the treatment option for everyone. Based on your medical history, signs, symptoms and extent of heart disease, your doctor determines if you are the right candidate for the procedure. Angioplasty may be indicated in the following conditions:

  • Poor response to medications and lifestyle changes to improve heart health
  • Worsening chest pain
  • Heart attack

Types of angioplasty

There are mainly two types of angioplasty:

Balloon angioplasty: Balloon angioplasty is usually combined with stent placement and is rarely performed alone. It involves usage of an inflating balloon to increase pressure and eliminate the plaque build-up in the blocked artery.

Stent placement: A stent is a small tube made of metal wire mesh, which is placed into the artery that is cleared out to prevent narrowing of the widened artery.

Risks associated with angioplasty

Although angioplasty is a safe procedure, there are some commonly associated risks which include:

  • Bleeding at the catheter insertion site (arm, leg, wrist or groin)
  • Formation of blood clots within the stent
  • Recurrence of clogging of artery- 15-20% with placement of bare metal stents and a risk of less than 5% with medicated stents.

Other rare risks may include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Damage/rupture of the coronary artery
  • Damage to arteries and blood vessels

Preparation for Angioplast

Your doctor may analyse your medical history followed by a physical examination. A series of tests including blood tests, electrocardiogram and chest X-rays are carried out prior to your procedure. A coronary angiogram may be performed to assess the blockage in arteries and to decide if angioplasty is the appropriate treatment option for you.

Before the procedure of angioplasty

You may need to follow certain instructions before the procedure:

  • Temporarily stop certain medications such as blood thinners, aspirin vitamin/herbal supplements, over-the-counter pain medications and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Inform the doctor if you have any history of allergy to contrast dye/iodine.
  • Stop eating/drinking for at least six to eight hours before the procedure.
  • Some medications may be given before the procedure which can be taken with small sips of water.

During the procedure of angioplasty

The angioplasty procedure is performed by a team of specialised cardiologists, cardiovascular nurses and technicians in an operating room. The following are the steps of the procedure:

  • A sedative is administered to help you relax.
  • An intravenous (IV) catheter is placed on your arm through which fluids, medications and blood thinners are given.
  • Your leg/arm/groin is prepared with antiseptic solution for a small incision.
  • Local anaesthesia is administered, and a small incision is made through which a guidewire is inserted into the blood vessel.
  • A catheter tube is then inserted into the artery with the help of live X-rays images.
  • A contrast dye is passed through the catheter to identify blockages in the arteries.
  • A small balloon is then inserted and inflated at the blocked artery site with placement of a drug-coated stent.
  • Once the artery is widened, the catheter is removed.

Duration of the procedure depends on the number of blockages and associated complications.

After the procedure of angioplasty

After the procedure, you may have to stay in the hospital for one night. You will be under observation and your heart function will be monitored. You may resume your normal routine one week after you are discharged from the hospital. You must avoid strenuous exercise, drink lots of fluids and take prescribed medications such as blood thinners.

Angioplasty Cost in Chennai

The average cost of angioplasty procedure is approximately 1.2 lakhs to 1.6 lakhs in India. However, the cost may vary with hospitals and cities. If you are experiencing any symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, visit your doctor immediately. Gleneagles Global Health City, is one among the best cardiology (heart) hospital in Chennai. We deliver high quality cardiac care with an expert team of cardiologists, advanced diagnostic techniques and world class infrastructure. Fill out the enquiry form given below to book your appointment now and get to know about angioplasty costs in Chennai.

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Click here to find out more about Our Cardiac Sciences Department at Gleneagles Global Health City.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Angioplasty

Is angioplasty a major surgery?

Angioplasty is a Cath lab procedure which is generally performed under conscious sedation. The procedure is carried out by inserting a small catheter into an artery of your wrist/groin through a puncture. It is a minimally invasive procedure which does not require opening up of the chest.

What is the difference between a stent and angioplasty?

Angioplasty is often followed by stent placement. Angioplasty is a procedure which involves insertion of balloon catheter to open up blocked arteries. A stent is a small tube made of metal wire mesh which is placed into the opened-up artery to prevent narrowing.

Are there any side effects of angioplasty?

Angioplasty is relatively a safe procedure; however, some commonly associated risks may include bleeding at catheter insertion site, clots within the stent and re-narrowing of arteries (less than 5% risk with medicated stents).

How long should you rest after angioplasty?

You may be required to stay in the hospital for one night after your angioplasty procedure. You may return to your normal routine one week after angioplasty.

Dr Gobu P
Dr Gobu P
Senior Consultant & Interventional Cardiologist – Institute of Cardiac Sciences
MD. (Gen. Med), DM (Cardiology), FIMSA, FESC

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