Sandyford, Dublin 18


What is a Coronary Angioplasty / Stent ?

Coronary Angioplasty is a procedure used to open narrowed heart arteries. Angioplasty involves temporarily inserting and blowing up a tiny balloon, into where your artery is narrowed to help widen the artery. Angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small metal coil called a stent in the narrowed artery - this helps keep the artery open and lessen the chance of it narrowing again.

Why do I need an Angioplasty / Stent?

When narrowing of your arteries is found it means that inadequate blood flow is being fed to your cardiac muscle. In order for your heart to function properly a good supply of blood is needed, without it you could have a heart attack, heart failure or rhythm problems.

What are the Coronary Arteries?

In order for your heart to function it needs a constant supply of oxygen. Oxygen is supplied to the heart muscle by the coronary arteries. These are the blood vessels that wrap around the heart.

• Right Coronary Artery: supplies blood to the bottom, right side and back heart muscle

• Left Main Artery splits into:

– Circumflex: supplies blood to the back left side of the heart

– Left Anterior Descending: supplies blood to the front left side of the heart

What do I need to do to prepare for my test?

• Do not eat or drink at least 4 hours before your procedure

• Bring your medications with you or a list with the doses noted

• If you are diabetic, ask your doctor if you should stop any medication

• Plan to have a friend or family member drive you home

• Do not bring valuables with you to the hospital

• Bring an overnight bag as you will be staying in the hospital overnight

• It is important to take your medications (Aspirin & Plavix) on the morning of your procedure.

What will happen once I arrive at the Cardiology day unit?

• You will be asked to change into a hospital gown

• An ECG will be preformed

• An IV will be inserted and blood will be taken to check your kidney function/electrolytes/cholesterol/blood count/glucose

• Your blood pressure /heart rate /temperature and oxygen levels will be taken

• Valuables will be locked up or preferably sent home with family

• Your right wrist and groin will be shaved in preparation of your test

• Please alert staff of any allergies especially to medicine, x-ray dyes, shellfish or iodine

• Please direct any questions you may have to any of the staff

• You will sign a consent agreeing to your procedure

• You will be asked to empty your bladder before your procedure

How is it done?

• You my be given medication to help you relax if desired

• Your doctor will numb either your wrist or your groin before inserting a thin tube which will be inserted into your blood vessel

• A catheter with a small balloon at the end is passed though the tube and inflated in the narrowed artery to stretch out the narrowed artery

• A stent may be placed over the balloon and placed in the artery once it is widened

• Once the stent is in place the catheter is removed and x-rays will be taken to see how well blood flows through the newly widened artery.

What will I feel?

• Slight “bee sting” as your wrist / groin is being numbed

• Sometimes you will feel a warm sensation in your chest for a few seconds as the dye is injected

• You may feel you have passed water but you haven’t

• You may feel slight chest discomfort while the balloon is inflated. As it is temporarily blocking the flow of blood. This may last around a minute.

What happens after the procedure?

• All catheters will be removed

• Pressure will be held over insertion site

• If your wrist is used, a clear pressure band will be applied and you will be able to sit up and eat immediately with slight limits to your wrist

• If your groin is used you must lay flat with your leg still for at least 30 – 60 minutes, minding to keep your head down and to hold pressure over site if you need to cough or sneeze

• You will have your blood pressure and pulses checked frequently

• You will be seen by your doctor to discuss your test results and plan

• You will stay overnight in the cardiology ward

Non-Invasive Cardiology

Cardiac Catheterisation Lab

Implantation and follow-up checks for:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note you will need a referral letter from your GP
to use any of the services of Beacon Heart Centre