Ballon Angioplasty (Vascular Stent Placement)


A balloon angioplasty is a procedure during which an interventional radiologist inserts a small balloon that is attached to a thin catheter into a blood vessel through a small nick in the skin. He then uses x-ray guidance to thread a catheter to the site of the blocked artery and inflates the balloon to open the artery. Sometimes, he may need to insert a small metal scaffold, called a stent, to keep the blood vessel open.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a balloon angioplasty or vascular stent placement?
You may have a narrowing or blockage of a blood vessel.
How do I prepare for the angioplasty or vascular stent placement?
You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your angioplasty or vascular stent placement.

Tell your doctor if you have had any kidney problems or reactions to x-ray dye or contrast. If so, your doctor may want to prescribe medicine for you to take before your procedure.

Ask your doctor about taking your regular medications prior to your angioplasty or vascular stent placement, especially Coumadin. Your doctor may want to stop your Coumadin for a few days prior to your procedure.

Generally, your medications may be taken with a little sip of water. Please bring all medications you are currently taking with you on the day of your procedure.

If you are a diabetic, consult your doctor about your diabetes medications.

Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you until the next day. You will not be able to drive, leave by yourself, or take a cab home without a companion.

Please notify your physician if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.

On the day of your angioplasty or vascular stent placement, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and leave your jewelry and valuables at home if possible.
What happens before the angioplasty or vascular stent placement?
You’ll check in with our receptionist and be asked to complete some paperwork. Please bring your insurance cards and a list of your medications.

A nurse and the interventional radiologist will talk to you about the procedure in detail. They will answer any questions you have and ask you to sign a consent form.

Then you’ll put on a hospital gown and the nurse will start an IV to give you fluids and medications. You may also need lab or blood work done before the procedure.

Our staff will show your family or companion(s) to our comfortable waiting room for the duration of your appointment.
What happens during the angioplasty or vascular stent placement?
We’ll take you into our procedure room and place you on the x-ray table.

We’ll assess where to place the catheter for the procedure, then shave, clean and drape the area.

We’ll numb the area with a local anesthetic, make a small nick in the skin, and insert a small tube called a catheter into the blood vessel.

Your interventional radiologist will guide a catheter to the blood vessels of interest. When the catheter is in the correct position, your care team will inject the x-ray dye or contrast through the catheter while we take x-ray pictures.

If we find a blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels, we may exchange the catheter for another special catheter, which has a small balloon attached to it. Then we’ll insert the new catheter and inflate the balloon to open the artery. In some cases, we may need to place a metal scaffold, called a stent, to keep the blood vessel open.
What happens after the angioplasty or vascular stent placement?
After the angioplasty is complete, we’ll remove the catheter and apply manual pressure to the area for 15-20 minutes or until the bleeding stops. We’ll apply a dressing to the site and take you to the recovery room. We’ll monitor your condition for 2-4 hours until you are ready to be discharged.

The staff will review discharge instructions with you and give you a copy of those instructions to take home.

Your family or companion will then drive you home and stay with you overnight.

The following day, you may resume your normal diet and medication schedule, unless otherwise directed. Ask your physician about exercising or working before you resume your normal routine.

We’ll send a report of your angioplasty or vascular stent placement to your primary care physician and his or her office will follow up with results and a forward care plan.