Procedure, part 3
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.
Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Senior Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.
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