The slow build-up of cholesterol plaque within the artery wall can cause the artery to narrow, reducing blood flow. Sudden changes in the plaque may cause angina  or may cause a heart attack. A narrowing of a coronary artery is called a coronary artery stenosis.

Where a narrowing is identified in a coronary artery during a coronary angiogram, the cardiologist may treat the lesion using a stent (sine alloy tube). This is known as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), which means ways of opening narrowings in coronary arteries using fine tubes called catheters introduced from the wrist. Narrowings are treated with balloons and stents that reduce the chance of renarrowing. PCI is also known as angioplasty or stenting.


You will be given medication to help you relax, but you will be awake during the procedure so that you can follow instructions from the doctor and nurses.
The doctor will administer freezing to your groin or your wrist.
A thin, flexible tube (balloon catheter) with a small inflatable balloon on the end is inserted. If a stent is being used, it will be placed over the balloon before the catheter is inserted.
X-ray pictures will be taken and a special dye will be injected through the catheter to identify the narrowed sections or blockages in the arteries in your heart.
The balloon catheter is guided to the narrowed section of the artery.
The balloon is inflated for a short period of time to push the plaque back against the wall of the artery and implant the stent.
Once the balloon has been deflated and removed, the stent stays in place, permanently holding the blood vessel open and improving blood flow.
It is not unusual to experience some chest pain. Inform the nurse if you experience any discomfort or have concerns.
The time for the procedure in the lab is usually 30 to 90 minutes.


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