Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is a procedure that uses a balloon-tipped catheter to remove blockages from blood vessels that supply the heart.
Your heart requires blood and oxygen to function properly, which it receives through the coronary arteries. These arteries can become blocked by plaque (cholesterol) buildup resulting in angina (chest pain) and areas of necrosis (infarction). PTCA compresses these plaques against the wall of the artery, allowing blood to flow freely.
To perform PTCA, your doctor first administers local anesthesia in the groin area and makes a small incision, through which the balloon-tipped catheter is introduced into the femoral artery with the help of a guide wire. This is advanced to the site of the blocked coronary arteries which are identified by imaging procedures. The balloon is then inflated to open up the passage, allowing blood to flow freely Along with PTCA, your doctor may also use stents to keep the coronary arteries open. These stents may be coated with medications (drug-eluting stents) to prevent plaque formation or recurrence of a blockage. Once normal blood flow resumes, the stents are left in the arteries, while the catheter and balloon are removed, and the incision is closed.
As with all invasive procedures, complications may occur including bleeding or clot formation at the insertion site or within the vessel being treated.