Primary Angioplasty

This is the treatment given to patients who have suffered from myocardial infarction or heart attack. People who are suffering from severe coronary heart diseases require this treatment if the condition worsens, This procedure involves widening the coronary artery walls where cholesterol deposits are present. Cholesterol (plague) deposits in the walls block the passage of blood flow to the heart, reducing blood flow to the heart. The narrowed areas of the artery walls are widened by using a long, flexible tube (catheter) and placing it in between the plaque deposits. The catheter is inserted into the main blood vessel of the lower arm and passed carefully into the aorta (the artery that provides blood to the heart muscles from its blood supply). A balloon is placed at the tip of the tube in such a way that when it is blown, it forces the narrowed areas of the artery to wide open. This clears the passage of the coronary artery walls, allowing blood to flow to the heart

Advantages of a Primary Angioplasty

  • Primary angioplasty can be done with our without the use of anesthesia. For those whose bodies cannot withstand anesthesia, primary angioplasty is a safe option
  • Primary angioplasty is a quick procedure that saves a person from a severe heart attack by immediately restoring blood supply to the dying heart muscle. In the case of open-heart surgery, the patient might go through further complications since many bypass surgeries, on opening the chest, might further damage the heart muscle, causing total heart failure.
  • Primary angioplasty reduces the symptoms of heart disease. It reduces chest pain, restores normal breathing which might not be possible if the person went through open-heart surgery.
  • For those who cannot withstand open-heart surgery, doctors might recommend invasive heart treatments. Out of those primary angioplasty is the most effective since it does not interfere with the chest cavity. Rather they insert the catheter through the wrist(radial artery) and do the treatment.
  • Primary angioplasty, through its fast procedure, can also restore blood supply to other organs of the body. For example, in cases when due to heart attack, swelling of legs and ankles and turning of skin into blue takes place, primary angioplasty, by restoring blood supply to the damaged heart muscle can also reduce the swelling of the feet and ankles and restore blood supply to other organs of the body.
  • Not only primary angioplasty is less expensive but also its flexibility. If the individual face another episode of heart attack, the person can have another primary angioplasty. This would not have been possible if the person had gone through open-heart surgery since another open-heart surgery is very risky

Disadvantages of primary angioplasty

  • If more than two arteries are blocked or if the arteries are narrowed in different locations of the heart, primary angioplasty cannot be performed since there is a possibility that it can damage any blood vessel, leading to further complications
  • In some cases, the catheter cannot be inserted into the accessible arteries of the body( situations where the catheter cannot be inserted into the radial or femoral artery). Therefore, instead of primary angioplasty, open-heart surgery is the only option.
  • If the plaque deposits (cholesterol) in the walls of the coronary arteries are so hard that they cannot be forced open with a catheter, primary angioplasty may not be the ideal treatment.
  • While inserting the catheter, there is a risk of forming a blood clot. In these cases, primary angioplasty should be completely withdrawn

Therefore, consult your local doctor about the pros and cons of doing a primary angioplasty. You and your doctor should be aware of the risks of the angioplasty procedure before you agree to take the treatment.

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