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Angina Pectoris, a Heart Disease
This operation is a relatively new procedure, and it is known
in full as transluminal balloon coronary angioplasty. It entails
'squashing' the atherosclerotic plaque with balloons. A very thin
balloon catheter is inserted into the artery in the arm or the leg
of a patient under general anaesthetic. The balloon catheter is
guided under x-ray just beyond the narrowed coronary artery. Once
there, the balloon is inflated with fluid and the fatty deposits
are squashed against the artery walls. The balloon is then deflated
and drawn out of the body.
This technique is a much simpler and more economical
alternative to the bypass surgery. The procedure itself requires
less time and the patient only remains in the hospital for a few
days afterward. Exactly how long the operation takes depends on
where and in how many places the artery is narrowed. It is most
suitable when the disease is limited to the left anterior
descending artery, but sometimes the plaques are simply too hard,
making them impossible to be squashed, in which case a bypass might be necessary.
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