Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

Sometimes during a heart catheterization, the doctor may find blockages that are suitable for angioplasty. An angioplasty procedure consists of inserting a catheter with a small balloon at the tip into the artery and positioning it over the plaque which is creating the blockage. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times to compress the plaque against the artery wall, opening the artery wider for better blood flow to your heart muscle.  

How do I prepare for a PTCA? 

Your physician will explain the procedure to you during an office visit. Typically, patients are instructed to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before their procedure. If the procedure is scheduled for later in the day, you may be allowed to have a light breakfast. Sometimes patients with very high blood pressure and/or diabetes are given special instructions in regards to their medication. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you at the time the PTCA is scheduled. You should bring all of your medication with you to the hospital. If you have angioplasty, you will have to stay overnight in the hospital. Most people are able to go home the next day.

Will I have to spend the night in the hospital?

Yes. If you have an angioplasty procedure, you will have to stay overnight in the hospital. Most patients are able to go home the next day.

What can I expect after a PTCA?

You should be able to go home the day following your procedure, provided there were no complications. You will be able to shower and walk, but will need to restrict lifting to no more than 10 pounds for about 2 weeks. You will be asked to keep an eye on the insertion site and look for redness or swelling. Mild tenderness is common and there may be a small knot present, but you will need to notify your physician if any swelling, drainage, bleeding occurs, or if it hurts to walk. You should also contact your doctor for any cramping, weakness in the affected leg or if the leg gets “sleepy” or feels tight when you walk. You will also need to contact your doctor if any chest pain or shortness of breath occurs.