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​​The arteries of your heart that supply blood to the heart muscle are called coronary arteries. PTCA sometimes called "angioplasty" or "the balloon procedure" is used to restore adequate blood flow to coronary arteries that are narrowed or blocked. The narrowing may be due to plaque build-up or thrombus (blood clot).

Before The Procedure

  • You will be asked to sign a consent form after your doctor has explained the procedure and its risk to you.
  • One or both groins will be shaved which is the site of entry for the procedure.
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are allergic to iodine, x-ray dye or other medications or shellfish.
  • Most patients are told not to eat or drink anything after midnight. Please ask your nurse.
  • You will need to empty your bladder and wear only a hospital gown.
  • You may be given some medication to help you relax. You will not be put to sleep; you will be awake, but drowsy.

During The Procedure

  • You will be lying on a hard table, surrounded by x-ray equipment.
  • A local anesthetic (numbing medicine) will be applied to the groin area.
  • The doctor will insert a small tube (catheter) under the skin and into an artery in your groin. This tube will remain in your groin until the doctor removes it at a later time. A smaller catheter with a tiny balloon will be guided through this existing catheter in the artery and advanced into the affected coronary artery.
  • An x-ray dye is injected to allow the doctor to view the affected arteries. It may cause a "hot" feeling.
  • To help the doctor with the procedure, you may be asked to follow simple directions such as "take a deep breath and hold it".
  • To attempt to widen the inside of the affected artery, the balloon will be inflated and deflated several times.
  • You may feel chest discomfort or your original symptoms when the balloon is inflated. Be sure to tell your doctor.

After The Procedure

  • You may spend the night in an Intensive Care Unit (CCU) or in the Interventional Cardiology Care Unit (ICCU). Your nurse will be checking your heart rate, your blood pressure, groin, and the pulses in your feet.
  • You will have one or two IV lines left in your groin for several hours or overnight. You must stay in bed and not bend the affected leg.
  • A device may be placed on your finger to indirectly measure your oxygen level.
  • When the IV's are removed from the groin, a "c-clamp" (a device used to hold pressure to prevent bleeding) will be used to apply pressure.
  • It will be several hours before you can get out of bed. Ask your nurse.
  • Later, you will be transferred to a regular room.