Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)
Commonly called balloon angioplasty or PTCA, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty is a common procedure used to clear blocked coronary arteries after a heart attack, or to help prevent a heart attack.
It is an alternative to more complicated and risky open heart surgery to perform a bypass graft around a blocked coronary artery.
This procedure is performed by a cardiologist in conjunction with a cardiac catheterization. After performing a cardiac catheterization and finding a blocked artery, the cardiologist inserts a special catheter with a balloon attached. Once the balloon reaches the point of the blockage, it is inflated to open up the artery.
Although this is an invasive medical procedure with some risk, the majority of patients will feel little pain and discomfort from the actual procedure. The risks of PTCA are serious and include heart attack or a tearing of the artery, but these events occur rarely.
The risks are far outweighed by the benefits for the vast majority of patients. The most widely accepted treatments for blocked coronary arteries are a PTCA or a coronary artery bypass graft (open heart surgery). The doctors will evaluate the type and location of the blockage and the number of blocked arteries to help decide which procedure is most appropriate.
Although a PTCA is a less invasive and risky procedure, for many patients, the blockage may reoccur within a few months (the medical term for the blockage reoccurring is “restenosis”). For this reason, it is important to have periodic checkups by the cardiologist to help detect whether the blockage has reoccurred.
Purpose of the Procedure
Before the Procedure
During the Procedure
After the Procedure
Dr. Gregory Vigessa talks about coronary angioplasty.