Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. For the heart to function properly it must receive a steady supply of oxygen. The coronary arteries supply this oxygen-rich blood to the heart. When a coronary artery is healthy and has no blockages, then the blood can flow through easily. This allows the heart muscle to receive the amount of oxygen it needs to get the job done. Coronary artery disease occurs when blood vessels become narrowed or blocked. To treat this heart problem, your doctor might recommend a procedure known as angioplasty.
Angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon catheter is inserted into the artery to improve the blood flow to the heart. A balloon catheter is a thin, flexible tube with a balloon on the tip. The catheter is inserted into the artery until it reaches the spot where plaque (a fatty substance) has built up on the artery walls. This is the spot where the blockage is occurring. The doctor will then inflate and deflate the balloon a couple of times, compressing the plaque up against the artery walls and widening the passageway. After this is done, the artery is open and there is an increase in blood flow to the heart.
The patient must remember that angioplasty is only a treatment and not a cure for coronary artery disease. The patient must still change any unhealthy habits that might have created this heart problem. There are also other possible treatments for coronary artery disease including medication, bypass surgery, and procedures such as coronary stents and atherectomies.