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Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

Coronary heart diseases are caused due to the narrowing of the heart vessels, which supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscles, thus keeping heart muscles alive. The narrowing of the arteries is due to fat buildup called plaque, causing significant decrease in blood flow within the heart. One of the most widely used treatments for opening these blocked arteries is percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). The PTCA is also known simply as coronary angioplasty or balloon angioplasty. The blocked blood vessel is accessed through percutaneous or skin and the procedure takes place within transluminal or a blood vessel like the coronary artery. Finally the term angioplasty means reshaping the blood vessel with the help of balloon inflation and all these terms put together give this procedure its name. In PTCA a needle is placed into the femoral artery which helps place a guide wire into the artery. Now, an introducer is placed over the guide wire and the wire is removed. Instead of the wire, a different sized guide wire is placed in its place and diagnostic catheter is introduced over the guide wire. This catheter is guided into the aorta with the help of a guide wire and once in place, at the opening of one of the coronary arteries, the guide wire is removed. At this time a dye is injected into the coronary arteries and an X-ray is taken which helps the doctor find the block or blocks in the arteries. If the doctor feels the blocks are treatable, a balloon catheter is advanced into the blockage site and inflated. The balloon is inflated several times to help widen the passage. Then a stent may be placed to keep the coronary vessel open.