With over 38 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of coronary artery disease, Dr. David Faxon explains the process of coronary angioplasty. Inspired by the work of Dr. Andreas Grüntzig in 1977, Dr. David Faxon was one of the first doctors in the United States to offer coronary angioplasty.
Over time, calcium, cholesterol, and other particles floating in blood collect along the interior walls of arteries. When this substance, called plaque, hardens in the coronary arteries, a process known as atherosclerosis, it narrows the opening and limits blood flow to the heart.
Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that opens these arteries so that blood may flow more freely to the heart muscle. This process involves the threading of a catheter connected to a small balloon through the affected artery. The balloon is inflated, displacing the plaque and widening the opening, restoring blood flow. Usually a stent, a small metal mesh is placed against the wall to keep the artery open and to deliver drugs to prevent a recurrance.
Doctors often recommend angioplasty to relieve symptoms of angina, or chest pain, and can also use this procedure to reduce the effects of a heart attack. This procedure can be done more than once if the arteries become clogged again.