Your guide to angioplasty and stents 

Do you have an angioplasty coming up? Are you going to be fitted with a stent? Watch this video to find out what to expect.

Learn more about coronary angioplasties

Transcript of Your guide to angioplasty and stents

BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION THE ROAD AHEAD: YOUR GUIDETO ANGIOPLASTY AND STENTS This film will show you what to expectif you're having a coronary angioplasty and stents inserted. - My name is Rick. I come from Bury.- RICK, 46, PRODUCTION WORKER I came into hospitalfor a coronary angioplasty. Chest pains.I used to get a banging headache and, like, sensations down both arms. It could be exertion or sometimesjust getting out of bed. Hopes for the future, obviously,cut down on my medication and I'll be able to do thingswithout discomfort in the chest. I'm Jaydeep Sarma. I'm a consultantinterventional cardiologist at Wythenshawe Hospitalhere in south Manchester. So, we're with a young man calledRichard, who is in his mid-forties, who's got significant coronary diseasein three arteries in his heart. So we're going to start off witha relatively complex procedure, opening up his arteriesusing angioplasty, or balloon and wire techniques, so that we can start working awayat unblocking the vessel. (narrator) When you havecoronary heart disease, fatty deposits build up on theinner walls of your coronary arteries, causing narrowing or blockageswhich restrict blood flow to your heart. A coronary angioplasty, or PCI, is a procedure used to widenthese blocked or narrowed areas. A catheter, thin flexible tube,is passed into your artery through your groin or arm and then up to your heartand into the blocked area. The catheter hasa small balloon at its tip which is gently inflated so thatit squashes the fatty tissue in the narrowed artery. The catheter also contains a stent,a small tube of stainless steel mesh. As the balloon is inflated,the stent expands, so that it holds openthe narrowed blood vessel. The balloon is let down and removed,leaving the stent in place, allowing your blood to flow more easily. The operation is performed underlocal anaesthesia with sedation. When we start an angioplasty,we set up our equipment in much the same way that we dofor an angiogram. We put a very small needleinto the artery, again, either the groin or the wrist, and use that needle to feeda tiny wire into the artery. That allows us to put a plastic tubeover the wire, removing the needle, and then that plastic tube allows usto inject liquid dye into the arteries, allowing us to see the courseof the arteries on the X-ray machine. We open an artery that'seither blocked or tightly narrowed using a combination ofvery fine guide wires that we thread down the arteryand a balloon that's tracked along the guide wireinto the point of narrowing. We then use pressure to inflatethe balloon and open up a channel. That allows us then,in almost every case, to put a little metal tube incalled a stent. That's a cylindrical device thatexpands and works like scaffolding to keep the artery open permanently. People generally feela little bit of pressure, but not discomfort when the tubingis being moved inside the arteries. We expect these operations to takeanything between 30 or 40 minutes and a couple of hours. Sometimes, depending on the complexityof the procedure, it can take longer. Increasingly,with use of the wrist artery, it's feasible for people to go homethe afternoon of the procedure. The main complicationthat people suffer is bruising where the tubing goes into the artery,either in the wrist or in the groin. Overall, there's less than one per centchance of serious complications. When you have a stent put in,you'll need to be on aspirin and a blood thinning tabletfor several months, if not a year, after the procedure. That's routineand allows the artery to heal. (Rick) Still was a bit apprehensiveabout it. You do feel a bit ofdiscomfort in the chest. I had a bit of a headache at one time. (Jaydeep) We were happy withthe results of the procedure. It restored flow toa previously blocked artery and should improve the blood flowto a large portion of his heart. We would hope that his anginawill be greatly reduced. Obviously, I was overjoyedwhen they told me they got through it and they managed to getthree stents in it. It was well worth it in the end,I think. (narrator) Heart disease is stillthe single biggest killer in the UK. But for over 50 years,we've tirelessly pioneered research that has helped transformthe lives of people living with heartand circulatory conditions. Join our fight forevery heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised,every minute of your time and every donation to our shopswill help make a difference. BHF THANKS THE UNIVERSITYHOSPITAL OF SOUTH MANCHESTER FOR HELP WITH THIS FILM FIGHT FOR EVERY HEARTBEATbhf.org.uk BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION

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