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Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) (cont.)

What is balloon angioplasty?

Balloon angioplasty employs a deflated balloon-tipped narrow catheter that is inserted through the skin of the groin or arm into an artery. The catheter is threaded through the artery until it arrives in the coronary artery where there is narrowing or blockage. The catheter tip is then inserted through the narrowed area. Once in the narrowed area, the balloon is inflated, mashing the plaque into the vessel walls to reduce the narrowing (see Figure 1).

The balloon is then deflated and the catheter removed. The process is viewed by injecting a dye that allows the cardiologist to view the flowing blood as it goes through the arteries. This viewing method (angiogram) can be used to assure that the artery has increased blood flow after the balloon is deflated and removed.

Picture of Balloon Angioplasty

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