Peripheral vascular angioplasty, also called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) is a procedure that physicians use to open a blocked or narrowed artery in your leg (or, rarely, an arm) and improve blood flow. 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 use a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to dilate the blocked area of an artery by inflating a small balloon at the tip of the catheter. In some cases, a stent is inserted to keep a blocked artery open permanently.


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.

Your physician will make a needle puncture, usually in your groin. They will insert a catheter into your femoral vein (or an arm vein). They will then use angiography (x-ray imaging) to look for areas of restricted blood flow.

If they find significant narrowing or blockage in the 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 taken to a recovery room to rest until the sedative wears off. You will then be discharged home the same day.