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Heart and Vascular Center

PTCA - Angioplasty

Why is the doctor performing this procedure?

To open up peripheral arteries that are narrowed or blocked by plaque build-up (Atherosclerosis). The peripheral arteries most commonly affected by atherosclerosis are:

  • Cerebral arteries in the brain
  • Carotid arteries in the neck
  • Renal arteries leading to the kidneys
  • Abdominal arteries
  • Iliac arteries in the groin
  • Femoropopliteal arteries in the thigh
  • Infrapopliteal arteries in the knee

What is the procedure?

Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty is commonly called PTA, or just Angioplasty. A catheter is inserted into an artery - usually in the groin - but sometimes in the arm or wrist. The catheter is advanced to the blocked artery, and a series of x-ray pictures are taken to clearly visualize the artery that is narrowed. Then a balloon-tipped catheter is advanced into the narrowed artery. Inside the artery, the balloon is inflated and deflated several times, compressing the plaque against the artery wall and widening the artery so blood flow improves.

X-rays pictures are repeated, and if the artery has been successfully re-opened, the catheters are removed. Pressure is applied to the puncture site (to stop bleeding) while the patient rests quietly.

Where is the procedure performed?

In the Catheterization Lab or the Interventional Radiology Suite.

How long does this procedure take?

PTA (Angioplasty) usually takes 1 - 2 hours.