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Coronary Angioplasty, also known as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), is a non-surgical procedure to open up blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. Blocked coronary arteries cause chest pain and shortness of breath. The procedure improves blood flow to the heart and may be used to improve symptoms of CAD, reduce damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack, and reduce the risk of death for some patients. However, surgery is not for everyone. If the patient has plaques in multiple arteries, they should undergo coronary bypass surgery.
Before the procedure, the doctor will take a coronary angiogram to find out which artery is blocked and will need an angioplasty. Then, the patient will be given a local anesthetic in the area where the cut is made. A catheter will be inserted into one of the arteries through a small cut in the wrist, arm, or groin. Then, when the catheter is in place, a thin wire is guided down the length of the affected coronary artery to deliver a small balloon. The balloon is inflated to widen the artery, and this procedure may be repeated multiple times to open up the blockage. The procedure normally takes thirty minutes to two hours, depending on the number of blocked arteries and health condition.
After the procedure, patients who undergo the surgery under non-emergency conditions need to stay for a day in the hospital to be monitored. If the patient undertakes the surgery on emergency-conditions they may have to stay for 14 days. After being discharged, the patient will have to stay in the Herzliya for at least another 14 days. The recovery period varies for each individual, but it usually takes one to twelve weeks before the patient can get back to their normal routine. The procedure has a high success rate. Those who suffer from angina and did not have a heart attack showed a 90% success rate, but those with angina and a heart attack previously showed a 64% success rate.