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What happens during a coronary angioplasty?

Fatty deposits, called atherosclerotic plaque, can build up in coronary arteries interfering with blood flow to your heart muscle.

To open narrowed arteries, your surgeon may perform a coronary angioplasty with stent placement.

Your doctor will insert a sheath, or soft plastic tube, into a large artery in your groin. Then, a flexible wire is guided through the sheath and gently up through your circulatory system into your narrowed coronary artery.

Your doctor will thread a balloon tipped-catheter encircled by a balloon expandable stent over the guide wire, gently advancing the catheter to the narrowed part of the artery.

The inflated balloon gently pushes against the plaque, compressing it against the vessel wall. The stent expands and locks in place, keeping the artery open and improving blood flow after the catheter is removed.

Most patients remain hospitalized for a day for heart monitoring, and should be able to return to a normal routine the following week.