Marquette General Heart Institute
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty
Angioplasty opens narrowed arteries by means of a small balloon that's inflated at the blockage site to flatten plaque against the blood vessel wall. Angioplasty is considerably less expensive than bypass surgery and recovery takes about two days, compared to a much longer recovery period for bypass surgery. The major drawback of the balloon procedure is an approximate 25% risk of redeveloping blockage in the treated area, usually within six months after the procedure.
What is a PTCA?
is a nonsurgical procedure to open narrowed coronary arteries.
Why is PTCA done?
Your doctor has determined that one or more of your coronary arteries
is blocked. Your doctor has recommended a PTCA be done to open the
blocked artery using a balloon catheter.
What is the preparation?
Very often your PTCA will be done immediately following your heart catheterization. Sometimes however your doctor will need to review the films from the heart cath and then decide to do a PTCA the following day.
Whether your PTCA is done immediately or the following day, the preparation is very similar. You will be put on oxygen and a nitroglycerin drip if you aren't on those already. You will be given Heparin, a blood thinner, to prevent clots.
You will be taken to the Ouptatient Cardiac Unit and an EKG will
be done. Then you will be taken to a special room on the Cardiac
Unit or Advanced Cardiac Unit, where you will be monitored closely
for the first 12 hours. You will have to lay in bed for the first
24 hours after your PTCA. Once the blood thinners have worn off
then the small tubes will be removed from your groin. Pressure will
be held and a sandbag will be applied. You will have to lay in bed
for 8 hours once the tubes come out. This is usually the hardest
part of the test.
Not everyone who experiences chest pain is a candidate for a PTCA. The post procedure for PTCA is shorter than for coronary bypass surgery. However, the dilated part of the coronary artery renarrows in 25 to 30 percent of the people who have had a PTCA. Your doctor will determine the best plan of care for you. There are very few complications with a PTCA. Less than 5 percent of the people having PTCA will need emergency bypass surgery.