If during your coronary angiogram, blockages were found in one or more of your heart arteries and intervention may be recommended. Coronary interventions by an interventional cardiologist include angioplasty and stent placement (see Coronary Angiogram).
Blockages or narrowing of the arteries are caused by plaque and is called atherosclerosis. Plaque is a build-up of cholesterol, fat, and calcium. Over time plaque narrows your arteries and potentially closes off blood flow to heart muscle causing a heart attack. Normally, the walls of your hollow, tube-shaped arteries are smooth and elastic.
Atherosclerosis occurs when the lining of your arteries deteriorate and thicken with plaque deposits and is commonly known as “hardening of the arteries” or coronary heart disease
In an angioplasty procedure, the cardiologist threads a catheter into narrowing in the artery. The catheter has a balloon built in and when it is in the correct place, the balloon is inflated. The balloon expands the artery and increases blood flow. Many times the artery returns to its narrowed size. Stenting was developed to help hold the artery open.
A coronary stent is a small mesh tube, usually made of metal. The stent and balloon are attached to a catheter that is threaded by the doctor into the narrowed artery. The stent is expanded using the balloon. Most stents have a drug coating added to help prevent restenosis.