Balloon Angioplasty

What is a Balloon Angioplasty?

Balloon Angioplasty is a medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the heart.

How is it done?

Balloon Angioplasty generally takes 1 to 2 hours. The patient is awake for the procedure but local anesthesia is used and pain medication can be given as needed. During the procedure the surgeon will insert a small balloon catheter into an artery in the groin or arm and advance it toward the narrowing in the coronary artery.  The balloon is then inflated to enlarge the narrowing in the artery.  In some cases, a stent of wire mesh inflates with the balloon and is left behind to support the artery walls.

Why is it done?

When successful, Balloon Angioplasty can relieve chest pain of angina, improve the prognosis of patients with unstable angina, and minimize or stop a heart attack without having the patient undergo open heart surgery. 

Risks & complications

As with any surgery, there are risks, including the possibility of:
  • Complications associated with anesthesia, including respiratory or cardiac malfunction
  • Infection
  • Bleeding in the groin (or other catheter access site)
  • Complete obstruction of blood flow to an area of the heart (a small risk, less than 1%)
  • Damage to a valve or blood vessel
  • Stroke
  • Arrhythmia
  • Kidney failure
  • Allergic reaction to X-ray dye
Balloon Angioplasty treats the condition, but does not cure the cause of narrowed arteries. Recurrent narrowing can be expected in up to a quarter of cases over a 6 month period.  This recurrent narrowing may or may not require a repeat procedure.
Risks can be reduced by following the physician's instructions before and after surgery.


If the arteries are not sufficiently widened by angioplasty or the blockages are too severe to be treated by angioplasty, open heart surgery may be recommended.

Candidate eligibility

The physician will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient.


Heart (Cardiology) Center
Bumrungrad International Clinic (BIC) Building, 14th floor.  
Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand

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