Dr. Gruentzig's discovery that balloon catheters could serve as tools for delivering medical therapies to arteries launched a new era of "interventional cardiology." Until then, emergency coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and clot-busting drugs were the only interventions to stop heart attacks and treat coronary artery disease.
Angioplasty's ability to stop heart attacks, its low risk to patients and the quick recovery it makes possible often make angioplasty the preferred method of treatment for heart disease. Angioplasty, which is frequently accompanied by stent implantation, is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no general anesthesia. Compared with bypass surgery, angioplasty is a much less invasive procedure -- and patients are typically able to resume normal activities within days. In bypass surgery, a surgeon sews a blood vessel taken from the leg or other part of the body beyond blockages in heart arteries. This allows blood to "bypass" the blockage in the artery and restores normal flow to the heart. Recovery is typically much longer, with a minimum of several days' recovery in the hospital.
Steady advances in the techniques and tools of angioplasty have made the procedure a treatment option for more patients, according to Dr. Weiner.
In the early years, an estimated five to 10 percent of patients with
heart disease were candidates
|SOURCE The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and|
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