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Why It’s Done

What is an Peripheral Angioplasty?

A peripheral angioplasty is a procedure that involves using a balloon catheter to open the blocked artery from the inside.

A stent is generally placed in the artery after angioplasty to help keep it open.

Our interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeon are trained in alternative sites of arterial access to help ensure success of intervention such as pedal/popliteal and brachial approach (insertion of catheter into the foot, behind the knee or arm arteries).

What is an Atherectomy?

An atherectomy is a procedure that utilizes a catheter with a sharp blade on the end to remove plaque from a blood vessel.

The catheter is designed to collect the removed plaque in a chamber in the tip, which allows removal of the plaque as the device is removed from the artery.

The process can be repeated at the time the treatment is performed to remove a significant amount of disease from the artery, thus eliminating a blockage from atherosclerotic disease.

Risks

What Are the Possible Risks of the Procedure?

All invasive procedures can have complications. While the risk of an angiogram is low it is not zero. The most common complications are related to the arterial access site:

  • You will likely have bruising where the artery was entered
  • You may experience pain and bleeding that may include blood collecting under the skin

In rare cases, the access artery can become blocked. Infrequently, patients experience persistent leakage of blood where the artery was entered, which can result in the formation of a pseudoaneurysm that may require further treatment.

Other complications related to an angiogram include:

  • Allergic reaction to the iodine contrast dye (can lead to kidney failure)
  • Part of the arterial blockage breaking off and traveling to more distant arteries

Before the Procedure?

Taking Medication

Do not discontinue any of your medications without first talking to your health care provider. Ask your doctor which medications you should stop taking and when to stop taking them.

Specifically discuss the following:

  • Anticoagulant medications
  • Diabetes medications

How to Prepare

Do not discontinue any of your medications without first talking to your health care provider. Ask your doctor which medications you should stop taking and when to stop taking them.

Specifically discuss the following:

  • Get any recommended tests done (blood tests, EKG, X-rays, etc.)
  • Follow your normal routine
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat a normal meal the evening before your procedure
  • Do not eat, drink, or chew anything 8 hours before your procedure. This includes gum, mints, water, etc.

After the Procedure

What to Expect After the Procedure

After the procedure, expect 4-6 hours of bed rest to avoid bleeding at the artery access site.

Because sedation is often utilized, you will likely not be able to drive yourself home. Be sure to arrange for transportation after the procedure.

Once home, you should avoid heavy lifting, stooping, or bending for 2 days to reduce the risk of bleeding at the arterial puncture site. Most other activities can be resumed.

Follow Up

If surgery is felt to be a better option, your doctor will obtain any additional X-ray images needed to plan a surgical bypass of the blocked vessel(s) and will then conclude the angiogram.