What is Angioplasty?

Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically expanding arteries that are usually narrowed or blocked as a result of atherosclerosis. It is a method of opening vessels by dilating blocked or narrowed vessels with balloon catheters (angioplasty) and placing a special prosthesis, i.e. a stent, in the vein without the need for surgery. If the vessels are blocked or narrowed, a treatment method called angioplasty shall be applied.

Why is Angioplasty Performed?

This is a treatment that is used if the arteries are blocked or narrowed. The most common disease that causes blockage is atherosclerosis, which is the stiffness of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). In this disease, the fat deposits called plaque form on the inside of the vessel. When the structural features of the inner wall of the arteries are impaired, the vessel stiffens, the vessel thickens, the fat accumulates and the plaque forms cause the vessel to narrow. Plaque blocks the flow of blood and prevents the heart muscle from becoming oxygenated. Thus, chest pain occurs when the heart tissue can not be properly fed with oxygen-rich blood. This can cause a heart attack. In addition, blockages in the arteries prevent the transmission of sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the organs. Angioplasty is performed if the coronary artery is blocked, if there is a problem in the heart valve, or if there are problems in the aorta, the main artery of the heart. In addition to these, in cases of impaired or lost function of the heart muscle, this treatment method is also applied.

How is Angioplasty Performed?

Angiography is performed first. Angioplasty is placed on a blocked or narrowed vein. The blocked vein is opened by inflating the balloon with the assistance of water. An empty and deflated balloon, known as a catheter, is placed in a narrowed or blocked vein with a guide wire and inflated to a fixed size using a water pressure that is 500 times higher than normal blood pressure. If the desired opening has not occurred or if some complications have occurred in the vein during the expansion process, the stent that allows the vessel to remain open throughout the procedure will be placed in the blocked region. If there is no problem, the balloon causes the inside layer of the plaque of the clot and the surrounding muscles to expand. This allows a better flow of blood to the blood vessel. Then the balloon is deflated and removed. In some cases, a stent may be placed in order to ensure that the vessel remains open at all times.