This procedure greatly improves blood flow through the coronary arteries and to the heart tissue in about 90% of patients and may eliminate the need for coronary artery bypass surgery.
The result is relief from chest pain, and improved exercise capacity. In majority of cases, the procedure is considered successful with complete elimination of the narrowing or blockage.
This procedure treats the condition, but does not cure the cause, and recurrent narrowing can be expected in up to a quarter of cases over a 6-month period. However, this recurrent narrowing may or may not require a repeat procedure.
Patients should diet, exercise, abstain from smoking, and reduce stress in order to lower the chances of recurrence. The physician may prescribe a medication, such as a statin drug, to help lower the patient's cholesterol.
If the arteries are not sufficiently widened by angioplasty or the blockages are too severe to be treated by angioplasty, heart surgery (CABG surgery) may be recommended.
The average hospital stay is less than 2 days, and often, an overnight hospital stay is not required at all. Patients are generally able to walk within 6 hours after the procedure. Complete recovery takes a week or less.
Abraham Salacata, MD, FACC