Angioplasty and Stenting for PAD
Angioplasty refers to a technique whereby doctors (usually Radiologists - x-ray specialists) attempt to reopen blocked arteries using a series of wires and balloons under x-ray guidance.
|The diagram represents the lumen (inside) of an artery severely narrowed by an atherosclerotic plaque (black), impeding the flow of blood (in red)|
|First a wire (black line) is passed through the blocked or narrowed portion of the artery. Then a catheter with a balloon (light blue) on the end is passed over the top of the wire|
|When the catheter is correctly positioned the balloon is inflated.|
|When the balloon is deflated a channel is left behind.|
|Blood can then flow more freely through the previously narrowed lumen of the artery|
Sometimes the artery will not stay open by itself after a balloon angioplasty. In this case the doctor may choose to line the artery with a metal framework called a stent
|A vascular stent mounted on a catheter|
|x-ray showing a vascular stent following deployment|
This technique tends to work well for short narrowings or blockages in the larger arteries in the pelvis and the upper part of the leg. As blockages get longer or occur in the smaller arteries further down the leg angioplasty becomes less successful leaving bypass surgery as the only option to improve blood supply to the leg.
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