DANBURY, CT - If you experience any of the warning signs of heart disease such as chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck or jaw, your doctor may recommended coronary angiography for diagnosis and stent placement for treatment.
According to Dr. David Copen, a board-certified cardiologist with Western Connecticut Medical Group, patients who have blockages in their heart arteries will need angioplasty if the blockages are determined to put them at risk for heart attack, stroke or death.
Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to re-open or enlarge blood vessels supplying the heart muscle that are closed or occluded. It may involve one of several techniques, including expanding a small balloon in the vessel, injecting agents to dissolve clots, or inserting a metal device called a stent to keep the vessel open – to improve blood flow to the heart.
“Angioplasty can improve some of the symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as angina (chest pain) and shortness of breath,” said Dr. Copen. “It also can reduce damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack and reduce the risk of death in some patients.”
Angioplasty is performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Patients are given mild sedation. The catheter is placed in the heart’s arteries usually from an artery in the groin.
During angioplasty, a stent (mesh tube) is often placed in the artery that has been re-opened. The stent reduces the chance that the artery will become blocked again in the future. The stent remains in place after the procedure. Angioplasty has a small risk of complications.
“Re-narrowing of the treated artery and growth of scar tissue within a stent can occur,” said Dr. Copen. “The use of medication-coated stents can lower the chance of this happening.” Research on angioplasty is ongoing to make stents safer and more effective in order to prevent treated arteries from closing again. The newest stents have a very low rate of narrowing. Soon, bio-absorbable stents which dissolve after a few months will be used.
For more information regarding cardiac programs and services provided by Western Connecticut Medical Group, go to www.WesternConnecticutMedical Group.org.