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Risks and Benefits of Angioplasty
September 14, 2021
What are the risk and benefits of angioplasty?
● Bleeding or bruising
● Blood clots and heart attack
● Kidney Damage
● Relieves symptoms of blocked arteries
● Reduces heart muscle damage
● Increased energy levels for physical activities
● It is minimally invasive
● Recovery period is relatively faster
Angioplasty is a surgical procedure done to open up arteries that are blocked due to plaque buildup. For people with blocked arteries, getting an angioplasty from the best cardiologist in the Philippines may be the path to relieving its symptoms and gaining overall healthy heart health. Patients suffering from a heart attack will also find angioplasty as a life-saving procedure. If you are going through the procedure, talking to your cardiologist about angioplasty risks and benefits is important for making smarter health care decisions. Here are the common risks and benefits of angioplasty to help start the conversation.
In general, angioplasty is a safe medical procedure. However, as with all types of surgery, it carries a variety of risks. Many of the risks can be prevented as well.
- Bleeding or Bruising
It's common to have bleeding on the puncture site where the catheter was inserted during the angioplasty. There may also be a bruise or discolored area near where the catheter was. The bleeding can typically be managed by simply putting pressure on the site.
In some cases, serious bleeding will require blood transfusions or additional surgery to repair the artery. A more painful bruising may be a sign that the puncture site is leaking blood or is not healing properly. If these happen, seek medical help immediately.
Although rare, the site where the catheter was inserted can also become infected. Make sure to carefully follow the doctor’s instructions about sanitizing the catheter insertion area.
- Blood Clots and Heart Attack
A stent is left in the body to help keep the artery open. It helps lower the chance of the artery getting blocked in the future. Blood clots can form from where the stent was placed during the angioplasty. Although extremely rare, these clots can block the artery and cause a heart attack.
The risk of blood clots and consequent heart attack after the angioplasty can be prevented by drinking the medications provided by your doctor. This can include aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs known as antiplatelet agents.
Angioplasty can set off arrhythmia which refers to an abnormal heart rate or rhythm. Your heart may either beat too slowly or too quickly. Arrhythmia induced by angioplasty typically occurs for only a short period of time, but in more serious cases, medications or a temporary pacemaker may be required.
If blood clots form during the procedure, these may travel through the heart, the back, and the rest of the body, including the brain. This can be referred to as paradoxical embolism. Blood clots that travel to the brain can result in a stroke.
A stroke is an extremely rare complication of angioplasty and blood-thinning medications are typically used to reduce its risk of occurring during the procedure.
During an angioplasty, a type of contrast dye will be injected into the catheter. X-ray images will be taken to find out how the dye moves through the artery and it will reveal blood flow blockages. Some patients may have a minor allergy reaction to the dye such as skin rash, itching, flushing, or nausea. The change of serious complications due to the dye is very small.
- Kidney Damage
The contrast dye used during angioplasty can also cause kidney damage, particularly in patients with kidney problems. This is why if you have kidney problems, your doctor will take the necessary precautions such as reducing the amount of contrast dye.
Angioplasty has many known benefits that have been proven to improve a patient’s overall quality of life. Studies show the procedure has mortality benefits as well. Here are the benefits of angioplasty:
- Relieve The Symptoms of Blocked Arteries
The primary benefit of angioplasty is it relieves symptoms of blocked arteries. When your arteries are blocked by plagued buildup, you can experience chest pains and shortness of breath. The said symptoms can greatly impact a patient’s chance of living life to the fullest.
The stent used during the angioplasty holds up the artery and restores blood flow to oxygen-starved heart muscles. This is why the symptoms of blocked arteries are often relieved immediately after the procedure.
- Reduces Heart Muscle Damage
The plaque buildup that causes an artery blockage could result in a heart attack. Angioplasty can be a lifesaving procedure as it is often performed after a patient suffers from a heart attack. If done within the recommended time limit, angioplasty can reduce heart muscle damage. In addition, angioplasty also relieves the symptoms associated with heart attacks such as chest pains, discomfort in different areas of the body (neck, jaw, back, arms, and shoulders), and difficulty breathing.
- Increased Energy Levels for Physical Activities
Angioplasty reduces symptoms of blocked arteries and heart attacks. When you no longer experience chest pains and difficulty breathing, you would have more energy to do physical activities.
Increasing physical activity is one of the most important lifestyle changes that patients with blocked areas need to make. Relieving your symptoms and recovering would be easier as you can do more physical activities such as exercising.
- It Is Minimally Invasive
Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure as it is catheter-based. Your doctors will use a balloon-tipped catheter to open up the blocked artery. As the balloon is inflated, blood flow will be improved. Afterward, a stent will be used to keep the artery from being blocked in the future.
Unlike during a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, your doctor will be able to relieve your symptoms without opening up your chest during an angioplasty. This also lowers the risk of complications.
- Recovery Period Is Relatively Faster
Given that angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, its recovery period is faster compared to CABG. The general angioplasty recovery period is about two weeks. The incision made is small which means the healing time is quicker.
Angioplasty is a highly beneficial procedure that involves opening up blocked arteries. But just like any surgery, there are angioplasty risks and benefits. Make sure to consult your cardiologist if an angioplasty works best for improving your health.