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Vascular Angioplasty and Stenting

Angioplasty with or without Vascular Stenting is a minimally invasive procedure performed to improve Arterial or Venous blood flow. Some imaging techniques are used to guide a balloon-tip catheter into a narrowed or blocked blood vessel. This is followed with a balloon inflation to open the vessel by stretching the narrowing intrvascular lesion. Then, the balloon is deflated and removed out of the body
  • During Angioplasty, a small wire mesh tube called a Stent may be permanently placed in the newly opened vessel to help it remain open
  • Angioplasty with or without vascular stenting is commonly used to treat conditions that involve a narrowing or blockage of arteries or veins throughout the body, including:
    • Narrowing of large arteries (aorta and its branches) due to atherosclerosis
    • Peripheral artery disease (PAD), a narrowing of the arteries in the legs or arms
    • Renal vascular hypertension, high blood pressure caused by a narrowing of the kidney arteries. Angioplasty with stenting is a commonly used method to open one or both of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys
    • Carotid artery stenosis, a narrowing of the neck arteries supplying blood to the brain
    • Venous narrowings involving the central veins (in the chest, abdomen or pelvis). In some cases, stenting of the narrowed vein is also needed
    • Narrowing in dialysis fistula or grafts. When there is decreased flow in the graft or fistula so that is not adequate for dialysis, angioplasty is generally the first line of treatment. Stenting or stent grafting may also be needed in some cases

Angioplasty with vascular stenting is just one way to treat narrowed or blocked arteries. Medications and exercise are often the first step in treating atherosclerosis.

  • Regardless of which artery is blocked, angioplasty does not reverse or cure the underlying disease of atherosclerosis. It is extremely important for patients to make lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, exercising and not smoking. Individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol need to follow the treatment plan prescribed by their healthcare providers
  • Angioplasty may have to be repeated if the same artery becomes blocked again, a condition called restenosis.  If a stent is placed at the time of the angioplasty, the risk of restenosis might be reduced
  • Only about half of patients with renal vascular hypertension caused by atherosclerosis have their blood pressure successfully treated or improved by angioplasty/stenting. By the time the procedure is done, many of these patients have disease in small arteries within the kidney that does not respond to angioplasty
  • Angioplasty and Vascular Stenting for peripheral artery disease (PAD) affecting arteries in the pelvis and legs are less successful when there are multiple leg vessels that are narrowed or when small vessels have to be opened. Patients with PAD can benefit from smoking cessation, eating a proper diet, exercising regularly and controlling blood cholesterol.

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