A catheter (thin, hollow tube) is inserted through a small cut in your groin or wrist. The catheter is guided through the aorta (the main artery of the body) into the blocked artery in the heart. At the tip of the catheter is a small balloon. This is inflated, clearing the blockage in the artery. Around the balloon is a small metal tube, which can expand, called a stent. After 10 to 20 seconds, the balloon is deflated and taken out. The stent stays in place and hold the artery open. This means that blood can flow down through the artery again.
- An approach of opening blocked coronary artery during acute myocardial infarction, in place of thrombolysis is practised in suitable cases. When an angioplasty is carried out as a planned treatment, it is called a coronary angioplasty. When it is carried out as an emergency after a heart attack, it is a primary angioplasty.