Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked arteries caused by deposits of plaque. If the blockage is not major, the problem may be corrected by inflating the balloon several times to compact the plaque against the arterial wall, widening the passage for the blood to flow through. Typically, a device called a stent is placed within the coronary artery to keep the vessel open.
Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.