Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically widening a narrowed or totally obstructed blood vessel; typically as a result of atherosclerosis. Tightly folded balloons are passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size using water pressures some 75 to 500 times normal blood pressure (6 to 20 atmospheres).
The word is composed of the medical combining forms of the Greek words αγγειος aggeîos meaning "vessel" and πλαστός plastós meaning "formed" or "moulded". Angioplasty has come to include all manner of vascular interventions typically performed in a minimally invasive or percutaneous method.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), commonly known as coronary angioplasty is a therapeutic procedure to treat the stenotic (narrowed) coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease. These stenotic segments are due to the build up of cholesterol-laden plaques that form due to atherosclerosis. PCI is usually performed by an interventional cardiologist.
Peripheral angioplasty refers to the use of mechanical widening in opening blood vessels other than the coronary arteries. It is often called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty
for short. PTA is most commonly done to treat narrowings in the leg arteries, especially the common iliac, external iliac, superficial femoral and popliteal arteries. PTA can also be done to treat narrowings in veins, etc.
Renal artery angioplasty
Atherosclerotic obstruction of the renal artery
can be treated with angioplasty of the renal artery (percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty, PTRA). Renal artery stenosis
can lead to hypertension
and loss of renal function
Generally, carotid artery
stenosis is treated with angioplasty and stenting
for high-risk patients in many hospitals. It has changed since the FDA has approved the first carotid stent system (Cordis) in July 2004 and the second (Guidant) in August 2004. The system comprises a stent along with an embolic capture device designed to reduce or trap emboli
and clot debris. Angioplasty and stenting is increasingly being used to also treat carotid stenosis, with success rates similar to carotid endarterectomy
surgery. Simple angioplasty without stenting is falling out of favor in this vascular bed. SAPPHIRE, a large trial comparing carotid endarterectomy and carotid stenting with the Cordis stent found stenting non-inferior to carotid endarterectomy.