Coronary Angioplasty

What is coronary angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure wherein narrowings or blockages in the coronary arteries are repaired using very small stents and balloons. This procedure generally follows on from Coronary Angiography, and is performed in the same room as part of the same procedure.

Why do I need to have a Coronary angioplasty?

The images taken during your Coronary Angiogram have indicated that you have one or several narrowings in your coronary arteries, and that the best treatment for these narrowings is to repair them using balloons and stents.

Will I feel anything during my Coronary angioplasty?

The Cardiologist will be inflating very small balloons inside the narrowed artery, to enable the stent to be positioned. These inflations are generally very brief (5 – 30 seconds) and it is possible that you may experience some chest pain (angina), chest tightness or heaviness, while this is happening. This discomfort is often transient. If it persists, you will be given additional pain relief through your IV leur (“drip.”)

Will I be able to see my angioplasty on the screen while it is being done?

As the screens will be positioned parallel to you, it is likely that you will see some of the imaging (if you are sufficiently awake!). However, some of the X-ray machine angles will block your view. Your Cardiologist will go through these images with you afterwards.

I suffer from claustrophobia. Will the X-ray machine surround me entirely?

No, the X-ray machine does not enclose the patient. It is a good idea to let your Cardiologist know if you have these concerns, as you may require extra sedation for your procedure.

How long will my Coronary angioplasty take?

This can take an additional hour or so. If you have a support person with you, they will be notified by the nursing staff.

Alternatively, an angioplasty/stenting procedure may be scheduled for a later date, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) may be recommended.

A letter will be sent to your GP giving the results of your Coronary angioplasty.

What are stents?

Stents are metal mesh tubes. They are used to open a narrowed or blocked artery and increase blood flow to the heart muscle. They act as an internal support framework to hold the artery open by continuing to press the plaque back into the inside of the artery wall.

Modern stents are generally coated with medication which is slowly released (“eluted”) into the surrounding area, helping to minimise the risk of the artery re-narrowing (“re-stenosing.”)

What happens after my angioplasty?

The sheath in your groin or wrist will be taken out at the end of the procedure, and pressure applied. If the procedure was performed via your groin, you will need to lie flat for several hours.

When you return to the ward the nursing staff will be regularly checking the catheter insertion site, your blood pressure, pulse, and the circulation of your leg or arm, depending where the insertion site was.

Will my stent set off metal detectors at the airport?

No, coronary stents are too small to trigger metal detectors.

Will I need to stay in hospital for my Coronary angioplasty?

You will need to stay in hospital for at least 6 hours after your angioplasty, possibly overnight.

Who will be performing my Coronary angioplasty?

An Interventional Cardiologist will perform your angioplasty, with the assistance of the Angiography nurses, and a radiographer.

Can I have a support person with me during my Coronary angioplasty?

You are welcome to have a support person with you until you enter the Angiography Theatre.

You will need to ask a friend/relative to drive you home and you should not be alone on the night following your procedure.

What happens after my Coronary angioplasty?

A letter will be sent to your GP giving the results of your Coronary angioplasty.

You will be given detailed instructions by the nursing staff regarding care of the access site.

You will be given a follow-up appointment with your Cardiologist.

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Ascot Hospital, Level 3
90 Greenlane East
Remuera, Auckland 1051
PO Box 17264,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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