During an angiogram, if narrowing or blockage of an artery is detected an arterioplasty may be performed.
While an angioplasty can be used to expand a vein or artery, an arterioplasty is a similar but more specific procedure for the treatment of arterial diseases such as renal artery disease and peripheral arterial disease.
Depending on the severity and characteristics of the blockage, there are two types of arterioplasty that are commonly used for the treatment of arterial diseases:
For this procedure, a catheter is threaded through a small incision then guided through a blood vessel with the help of imaging to reach the affected artery. The catheter features a small balloon on the tip that is then inflated to open the artery and compress the blockage. Once adequate blood flow is reestablished, the balloon is deflated and removed. The catheter in place so that contrast dye can be injected to evaluate the result.
If blood flow is improved and less than 30% of the blockage remains, the arterioplasty is considered successful. If the artery is still too narrow, placing a stent may be needed.
When a balloon arterioplasty is unable to effectively improve blood flow on its own, a tiny metal cylinder called a stent may be placed to hold the artery open. Reclosure of the artery is less likely to occur if a stent is used, however, stents are considered permanent and cannot be used as a treatment option for patients with a metal allergy.
Arterioplasty, with or without stenting, is considered a minimally invasive outpatient treatment that does not require open surgery. As with an angiogram, the incision is roughly the size of a pencil tip and numbed using a local anesthetic. Patients are usually able to go home the same day.