Angioplasty & Stent Procedures

Angioplasty and stenting are minimally invasive, endovascular treatments for coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery disease is also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). These conditions occur when arteries are clogged with fatty plaque.  Angioplasty and stenting can widen the space inside the artery to restore blood flow and help prevent heart attack or amputation.

If you are a dialysis patient with an AV fistula or graft as your access, over time it is possible that your AV fistula or graft may narrow or clot and require an interventional procedure to improve or restore the blood flow so that you can continue to receive dialysis.

If you are having problems with your access, your nephrologist may decide to refer you to a vascular care center for evaluation.  There, the vascular surgeon will determine if you need an interventional procedure, such as angioplasty, to ensure you leave the center with a fully functioning access.

What You Need to Know

  • Minimally invasive, endovascular procedures such as angioplasty can reduce risk and offer shorter recovery times, compared to open surgery.

  • Angioplasty is sometimes done alone, without stenting.

  • Your doctor will choose a therapy based on your ability to exercise, your risk of open surgery, and the type, number and degree of blockage(s).

Angioplasty (Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty)

  • Angioplasty may be performed for coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease. When it is performed for peripheral arty disease, the procedure is called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA).

  • At the start of the procedure, a thin tube called a catheter enters the femoral artery through a small puncture in the thigh.

  • Your physician uses X-rays to guide the catheter to the blockage, then inflates a balloon at the tip of the catheter.

  • The balloon presses the clogging material flat against the artery wall, expanding the artery and allowing more space for the blood to flow.

  • Your physician may use a plain balloon or one coated with medication (drug-eluting balloon), which helps prevent scarring while the artery heals.

Stenting

  • A stent is a tube of metal mesh that holds your artery open and may improve the results of angioplasty alone.

  • In a minimally invasive, endovascular procedure, a catheter delivers the stent to the blockage site.

  • Stents can be bare metal, covered with fabric and/or coated with medication (drug-eluting stent), which helps prevent scarring while the artery heals.

  • Stents may also be placed as part of open surgery.

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