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Angioplasty and Stenting for Arterial Occlusive Disease

Because they are such simple procedures, angioplasty and stenting are often used in cases where patients would be poor candidates for open surgery. However, they are also being used more and more in all kinds of patients, as they are less invasive and have a quicker recovery time compared to open surgery. The techniques work best when the diseased portion of the artery is relatively small, and when the diseased artery is easily accessible with a catheter.

Angioplasty and stenting for occlusive (blocked) arteries are minimally invasive procedures that can be performed on blockages (occlusions) in the arteries of the kidneys (renal arteries), intestines (mesenteric arteries) and lower extremities (femoral, tibial arteries). Carotid angioplasty and stenting can also be performed. Angioplasty and stenting require only local anaesthesia and intravenous sedation (relaxing medications). During angioplasty, a balloon tipped catheter is inserted through an artery in the groin via a needle puncture. The catheter is pushed through the artery to the point of occlusion and the balloon is then inflated, to expand the opening in the artery. This procedure often improves the blood-flow through the artery.

Sometimes, however, angioplasty does not sufficiently open the artery and the use of a stent is also required. A stent is a synthetic support structure similar to a spring. It is similarly inserted to the point of occlusion in the artery loaded on the balloon tipped catheter. Once in place, it is expanded by inflating the balloon, and left permanently in the artery to provide a reinforced channel through which blood can flow.

Patients generally go home the day after the procedure.

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