Angioplasty and Other Catheter-Based Technologies

Since the late 1970s, angioplasty has been available as an alternative to CABG for some patients with select causes or patterns of coronary artery disease. The angioplasty procedure is performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory (“cath lab”) by  interventional cardiologists. A balloon-tipped catheter is guided through to the site of clot or obstruction in the diseased areterial blood vessel and inflated several times. The inflation of the balloon cracks or reshapes the plaque in the arterial wall, reshaping the diseased vessel and increasing blood flow without the actual removal of any plaque.. Although angioplasty is an rapidly effective, less invasive therapy to treat coronary artery disease, the limitation is a high rate of  restenosis, or a re-narrowing of a treated artery, which generally requires retreatment, either by repeat angioplasty or finally by CABG procedure.


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