Also known as Percutaneous Coronary Interventions [PCI], Balloon Angioplasty and Coronary Artery Balloon Dilation. View an animation of angioplasty.

What the Procedure Does

Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up to the coronary arteries. The balloon is inflated to widen blocked areas where blood flow to the heart muscle has been reduced or cutoff. Often combined with implantation of a stent (see below) to help prop the artery open and decrease the chance of another blockage. Considered less invasive because the body is not cut open. Lasts from 30 minutes to several hours. May require an overnight hospital stay.

Reason for the Procedure

  • Greatly increases blood flow through the blocked artery.
  • Decreases chest pain (angina).
  • Increases ability for physical activity that has been limited by angina or ischemia.
  • Can also be used to open neck and brain arteries to help prevent stroke.

Medications That Your Doctor May Prescribe Post-Procedure

Learn more about cardiac medications, including dual antiplatelet therapy, that you may need to take after your procedure to prevent complications and to put you on the path for the best recovery.


Angioplasty, Laser

What the Procedure Does

Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a laser tip that opens the blocked artery. Pulsating beams of light vaporize the plaque buildup.

Reason for the Procedure

  • Increases blood flow through blocked arteries.