Coronary angioplasty (also called percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI) is a procedure physicians use to open arteries that have narrowing or blockage that restricts blood flow to your heart. This narrowing or blockage is caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty plaques in the blood vessels of your heart. 

During an angioplasty, your physician will dilate the blocked area of an artery by the inflation of a small balloon at the tip of a catheter. In some cases, a stent is also used to widen a narrowed or blocked artery.


Before the procedure, you will have an intravenous (IV) line started in a vein, usually in your hand or arm. This will be used to inject intravenous fluids and medications during your procedure. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will provide light sedation thru IV to help you relax as well as a local anesthetic at the surgical site as needed.

You will be prepped for a cardiac catheterization with angiography (imaging) to visualize the arteries leading to your heart (coronary arteries) and to find out where the problem is. They will inject dye through the catheter and into your arteries to look for areas of restricted blood flow. 

If they find significant narrowing or blockage in an artery, your physician will inflate the balloon through the catheter to dilate the artery. Depending on the severity of the blockage, they may insert a stent (a tiny metal mesh tube) to open the artery and keep it open. They will then withdraw the catheter.

Following the procedure, you will be asked to rest until the sedative wears off. You will then be discharged home the same day.