During an angioplasty, a tiny deflated “balloon” is guided through a tube into a blocked artery in the heart. When the balloon is inflated, the vessel widens and blood flow to the heart muscle increases. In laser angioplasty, pulsating light from a tiny laser breaks up the plaque or clot that is blocking the vessel. During angioplasty, surgeons often implant a stent, which is a wire mesh tube that helps the vessel remain open.

Last updated on 31 May 2011