The first catheter is exchanged out over the guidewire for a guiding catheter and the guidewire is removed. A smaller guidewire is advanced across the blocked section of the coronary artery and a balloon-tipped tube is positioned so the balloon part of the tube is beside the blockage. The balloon is then inflated for a few seconds to compress the blockage against the artery wall. Then the balloon is deflated. The doctor may repeat this a few times, each time pumping up the balloon a little more to widen the passage for the blood to flow through. This treatment may be repeated at each blocked site in the coronary arteries.
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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