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What is Angioplasty?

The heart is the most important organ of our body which circulates blood throughout the body. When one of the arteries in the heart gets blocked, it is treated by a procedure called angioplasty.

In this procedure, a stent is placed in the artery to clear the blockage. This gets the blood flowing into the artery again.

What causes a blockage in an artery?

Arteries carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body. Over time, they accumulate plaque which is made of fat deposits, calcium, cholesterol and other wastes.

Having high blood pressure, eating foods high in cholesterol, diabetes and smoking increase the chances of accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Symptoms / when to call your doctor

As plaque slowly builds up in an artery, there are no signs of it. But, when the artery gets blocked, people experience:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Tightness in the chest

  • Heart attack

Why you should see a doctor?

You should see a doctor immediately if you feel you are having a heart attack in which you experience chest pain which radiates to the arm and back.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose clogged arteries using any of these tests:

  • Echocardiogram

  • Chest X ray

  • CT scan

  • MRI

  • Angiogram

  • Cholesterol screening

Dietary Restrictions

After an angioplasty, you should maintain a diet consisting of:

  • 2-3 litres of water and fluids

  • Simple, nutritious, bland food

  • Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado

  • Whole grains, meat, fish

  • Avoid sugary foods and limit your salt intake

Treatment for a blocked artery:

Based on the extent of blockage of the artery, the doctor will recommend:

  • Change in diet, exercise

  • Stop smoking, drinking

  • Medications like aspirin, beta blockers, medicines which decrease bad cholesterol in the blood

Types of treatments:

SpecificsAngioplastyCoronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Cuts and WoundsNoYes
PainMild painMedium to severe pain
Used for treatment ofOne blocked arterySeveral blocked arteries
Time taken for procedure30 minutes3-6 hours
Hospital Stay1-2 days7-10 days
Dietary RestrictionNoNo
Recovery Time4-6 days2-3 months


This procedure is used to clear blockage of an artery.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given some pain medication

  • He/she is conscious during the entire procedure

  • The doctor inserts a catheter into an artery

  • Using an X ray, the doctor guides the catheter to the blocked artery

  • There is a balloon at the end of the catheter which is inflated to clear the blockage

  • A wire mesh called a stent is placed at the blockage site to keep the artery open

  • The balloon catheter is deflated and removed

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1- day discharge with mild pain

  • Resume normal routine after a few days

  • Visit your doctor after a week for a check-up

  • Avoid high cholesterol, sugary foods and limit intake of salt

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • Mild pain

  • Bleeding, clotting, bruising where the catheter is inserted

  • Infection

  • Kidney damage

  • Heart attack

Coronary Open-Heart Surgery

This procedure is done to treat blocked arteries, in case of multiple blockages where angioplasty is no longer viable.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • An 8-10 inch cut is made in the chest to expose the heart

  • The patient is connected to a heart lung bypass machine

  • The doctor uses a part of a healthy vein or artery to create a new path around the blocked artery

  • The cut is sutured and the patient is taken to the recovery area

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • Hospital stay of 7-10 days with moderate to severe pain

  • Resume normal day routine after 2-3 months

  • Intake of 2- 3 litres of water, simple, bland and nutritious food

Risks involved in the treatment:

Some of the risks of the procedure may be:

  • Heart attack, stroke

  • Bleeding

  • Lung or kidney failure

  • Memory loss