Balloon Angioplasty and Heart Stents


Balloon angioplasty and heart stenting are procedures that use cardiac catheterization to open arteries that are clogged due to diseases, including atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and carotid artery disease.

These procedures are usually done when medications have failed or if a patient has a heart attack that does not require bypass surgery.  

Angioplasty is done using a small balloon that is inflated within the area of obstruction in the artery to reduce the narrowing.

Heart stents use a small mesh tube made out of metal that is placed in the area where the angioplasty is done to prevent the artery from closing again.  

Pre-Operative Details for Balloon Angioplasty and Heart Stents

Your surgeon will give specific instructions before a balloon angioplasty or heart stent procedure, including risks such as bleeding, infection, or adverse reaction to anesthesia. You will also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery to go over your medical history. Please do not eat after midnight the night before your surgery.  

On the day of surgery, you will arrive at the hospital, register, and change into a hospital gown. A nurse will review your chart to make sure there are no problems and get all the paperwork in order.

The anesthesiologist will then start an IV and you will be taken to the operating room, where the surgeon will verify your name and procedure before any medication is given. Surgery will begin once you are under local anesthesia.

Operative Details for Balloon Angioplasty and Heart Stents

The surgeon will make a small incision in the groin area and insert a guide wire into the femoral artery. A small hollow tube (catheter) will then be inserted over the guide wire and into the femoral artery to act as a conduit. The surgeon will then use a guide wire or catheter and travel through the arteries to the clogged, obstructed area.

Once the area is reached, a balloon catheter is guided to the narrowed region and inflated to decrease the obstruction. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times to ensure adequate opening of the arteries.

If the surgeon decides that a stent is warranted to prevent this area from closing, the balloon catheter is removed and the stent catheter is then guided up to the target area and deployed.

Once the procedure is done, all catheters and guide wires are removed, and the tiny incision is closed using stitches.  

Post-Operative Details

After the surgery, you will be taken to the post-operative/recovery area and be monitored. The length of your hospital stay depends on how quickly you are able to recover and perform some physical activity as well as your underlying disease status.  

Please let your doctor know if you have any problems, such as:

  • Arm or leg that turns blue
  • Bleeding, pain, drainage, redness, or tenderness from the incision site
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Your surgeon will give specific instructions about recovery time. Please avoid lifting and showering for a couple of days after the procedure.  

Request an Appointment

To meet with an balloon angioplasty and heart stent specialist at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.