Angioplasty is a medical procedure that is designed to dilate and open narrowed or occluded artery. It is used it treatment of many diseases of the cardiovascular system, both acute and chronic. 


First, it is necessary to create an approach into an artery with a larger hollow needle and put a special wire through the needle. This guide wire then enables us to insert the main working device into the artery. Under X-ray control, the doctor pushes the device through the artery towards the site of arterial narrowing or arterial closure. The device is equipped with a special deflated balloon. When the targeted site is located, the doctor inflates the balloon and it dilates the narrowed or closed area. After successful angioplasty, the procedure is either terminated, or it is followed by implantation of a tube-like shaped stent into the dilated are to prevent recurrence of the stenosis or closure.






The procedure should be performed on empty stomach, when possible and the planned area of puncture should be shaved and disinfected. The procedure is performed only in local anesthesia.


The method is usually performed in arteries narrowed by the process of atherosclerosis or in a sudden arterial closure by a blood clot. We distinguish various types of the procedure according to the affected artery:

Coronary angioplasty

In this case, we treat the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygen. Their constriction can cause angina pectoris; their acute closure causes myocardial infarction.

Carotid angioplasty

In this case, the angioplasty is performed to solve the narrowing of the carotid arteries, which is usually caused by atherosclerosis.

Renal artery angioplasty

Angioplasty solves the narrowing of the renal arteries, which is either caused by atherosclerosis (more common) or by so-called fibromuscular dysplasia (rarer).

Angioplasty of the limb arteries

The angioplasty is usually used in symptomatic forms of peripheral artery disease. Acute arterial closure in the lower extremity is rather dealt with different therapeutic methods.


Angioplasty is an invasive procedure which has a number of potential complications; the most common include bleeding and bruising in site of the arterial puncture. The dilated area can narrow or close again, but this risk is lowered by stent implantation and regular usage of prescribed medication.


Despite some inevitable risks, the angioplasty represents an elegant and effective method in treatment of arterial narrowing and closures, which could otherwise lead to serious damage of the affected tissue or organs.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources