Learn the terms associated with Cardiac Catheterization, including what a stent is, and how an angioplasty is performed.
Angioplasty - a specially designed balloon catheter with a small balloon tip is guided to the point of narrowing in the artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to compress the fatty matter into the artery wall and stretch the artery open to increase blood flow to the heart.
Cardiac Catheterization - an invasive imaging procedure that involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in the arm or leg, and guiding it to your heart with the aid of a special x-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that x-ray movies of your valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers are taken.
Stent - a small stainless steel mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to provide support inside your coronary artery. A balloon catheter, placed over a guide wire, is used to insert the stent into the narrowed coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon tip is inflated, and the stent expands to the size of the artery and holds it open. The balloon is deflated and removed, and the stent stays in place permanently. Over a several-week period, your artery heals around the stent. Newer stents have a drug coating that helps prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.