During an angiogram, if narrowing or an arterial blockage is detected, there are two types of treatment that may be performed–a balloon angioplasty or angioplasty with stenting.
The severity and characteristics of the blockage will determine the type of angioplasty needed. When a balloon angioplasty is unable to effectively improve blood flow on its own, a tiny metal cylinder called a stent may be placed to hold the blood vessel open. Stents are considered permanent and cannot be used as a treatment option for patients with a metal allergy.
Stent placement is much less invasive and considered a relatively low-risk, low-cost procedure compared to open surgery. The procedure is performed using local anesthesia using the same incision as for the angiogram, which is roughly the size of a pencil tip and doesn’t require stitches.
Because general anesthesia is not needed for most patients, angioplasty with stenting is commonly performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients are usually able to go home the same day and able to return to normal activities shortly afterward.
Angioplasty with or without stenting is commonly used to treat conditions that narrow or block blood vessels causing disruption to blood flow. These conditions include:
● Peripheral artery disease
● Renal vascular hypertension
● Narrowing in dialysis fistula or grafts