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The Heart Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center performs both elective and emergency angioplasty to open clogged arteries and restore blood flow to the heart. All angioplasty procedures are performed by a team of specially trained nurses, technicians and interventional cardiologists in our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs. Learn more about angioplasty below .

Offering the latest approaches in angioplasty

The traditional approach to angioplasty requires inserting a catheter into the patient's femoral artery, which is buried at the groin deep in the leg. The Heart Institute now offers patients another route to restore blood flow to the heart muscle: through the wrist. It's called radial artery angioplasty.

The radial artery approach to angioplasty has a lower risk of bleeding complications, is more comfortable, and offers a faster post-operative recovery. (After a traditional angioplasty catheterization, patients must lay flat for several hours.)

Emergency angioplasty for heart attack patients

The Heart Institute's STEMI program (emergency angioplasty for heart attacks with ST-elevation) has saved more than 1,000 lives in more than a decade and dramatically cut response times for emergency coronary intervention to less than one hour from arrival. Learn more about our emergency angioplasty.

Preventive, elective angioplasty

Anne Arundel Medical Center currently offers elective (non-emergency) angioplasty to qualified patients through the Atlantic Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team's Elective Angioplasty Study (C-PORT E). We are just one of four Maryland hospitals selected to participate in C-PORT E.

Patients at Anne Arundel Medical Center may be eligible to participate if:

Patients who qualify may have their non-emergency angioplasty performed at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

What is angioplasty?

Angioplasty is a procedure to open arteries narrowed or blocked by plaque, a waxy substance that can build up in artery walls and reduce blood flow to the heart. Angioplasty can restore blood flow, which can relieve a type of chest pain called angina and also help prevent or treat a heart attack.

How does angioplasty work?
A doctor first uses a special dye to locate the narrowed or blocked part of an artery. To deliver the dye, the doctor inserts a thin tube called a catheter into a small incision, usually in the upper thigh. Guided by x-rays, he or she threads the catheter though a blood vessel to the heart.

Then the doctor uses the same incision to thread another, smaller catheter through the first one. This smaller catheter has a deflated balloon at its tip. When the x-ray shows that it has reached the narrowed or blocked part of the artery, the doctor inflates the balloon to compress the blockage.

In many cases, a metal mesh tube called a stent is inserted to help hold the artery open. The stent is collapsed around the balloon and expands with it to press into the artery wall. The stent stays in place when the catheters are removed.

How long does an angioplasty procedure take?
Angioplasty takes about one to two hours to perform. It causes little pain, and patients usually receive sedation that leaves them awake but sleepy during the procedure. Most people stay in the hospital overnight after angioplasty.

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