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Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

  • What is a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty?

    Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty PTCA

    Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), commonly known as ballooning and stenting, is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to open the coronary arteries that have been narrowed or blocked due to the build-up of fatty deposits known as plaque. This restores blood flow to the heart muscle.

    Types of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA):

    • Balloon angioplasty is performed using a thin tube called a catheter, with a small deflated balloon at its tip. The catheter is inserted into a large artery in the leg or via the radial artery in the forearm, and then carefully guided to the blocked portion of the artery. The balloon is then inflated to push the accumulated plaque against the walls of the artery, restoring normal blood flow to the heart muscles.
    • Coronary artery stenting, a small wire mesh, is often used to prevent the blocked artery from re-narrowing after a balloon angioplasty.
  • Your doctor may recommend percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) if prescribed medications and lifestyle changes have not been enough to reduce the effects of the blocked arteries.

    Your doctor might also recommend this procedure if your symptoms, including chest pain and shortness of breath, are getting worse.

    PTCA can reduce your symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, allowing you to resume normal activity.

    New developments in PTCA

    Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) can now be performed using CorPath GRX, a robotic-assisted platform. Using CorPath GRX, your doctor can utilise a set of joysticks and touchscreen controls to move devices within the platform’s robotic arm with better precision, to the point of sub-millimetre measurement. The platform allows for accurate measurement of relevant anatomy and enables balloon/stent positioning with movements as fine as 1 millimetre. Thus, robotic precision has the potential to benefit the patient.

  • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is a minimally invasive procedure that is usually performed under local anaesthesia. It is an almost pain-free procedure, and is commonly performed via the artery on your right wrist.

    Preparing for a PTCA

    To prepare for percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, your doctor will review your medical history and may recommend some tests such as a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram and blood tests to ensure you are safe to undergo the procedure.

    Your doctor may ask you to stop some medications prior to the procedure (eg. Mmetformin), but it is important to continue your other medications unless advised otherwise. You will need to fast 6 to 8 hours prior to the procedure.

    During a PTCA

    Local anaesthesia is injected in the groin or wrist to numb the pain of inserting the needle and catheter. When the catheter reaches the opening of the coronary artery, a dye is inserted and an X-ray taken to determine the location of the blockage.

    A balloon catheter is then inserted and guided to the blockage. It is then inflated for a few seconds to compress the plaque against the artery walls, then deflated. This process may be repeated several times at each blockage, and again at other blockages.

    After the balloon is deflated, a stent may be inserted to reinforce the artery and prevent it from narrowing again.

    Finally, a contrast media is injected and another x-ray taken to view the arteries before the catheter is removed.

    The duration of these procedures can range from 30 – 60 minutes, though it may take longer if there are complications.

    The duration of these procedures can range from 30 – 60 minutes, although it may take longer if there are multiple blockages, complex lesions, or in the event of the unlikely complications.

    What to expect after a PTCA?

    After a PCTA, recovery time is usually fast. You may need to stay overnight for observation and, if your health permits, you may be able to return to work in a week’s time. While at home, it’s important to drink lots of water to flush out the contrast/dye used during the procedure, and avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for a week.

    Risks of a PTCA

    Coronary angioplasty is a very safe procedure. However, as with any other surgery, it carries a small risk. In general, the risk of complications is less than 1%, and these include heart attack, stroke, bleeding at access site, or contrast-induced kidney injury. Overall, PTCA is considered to be a safe procedure, with a high success rate and low risk of complications.

  • Our experienced team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and staff are well-equipped to provide you with care throughout your medical procedure. Contact us now to find out more about percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).

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