Is Angioplasty Dangerous?
Angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty, is a procedure used to widen arteries or veins of the heart that have become obstructed. The surgery restores blood flow to the heart and is minimally invasive.
Though it is one of the most common operations performed in the United States, angioplasty risks for elderly patients should be considered and discussed with your physician to be sure the dangers of angioplasty are understood.
What is Coronary Angioplasty?
Coronary angioplasty typically involves threading a thin catheter through a blood vessel in the upper part of the thigh to the heart to widen the artery and irradicate, minimize, or prevent further blockage.
The procedure can also be performed by threading the catheter through a vessel in the wrist. This procedure is called radial angioplasty.
Angioplasty can prevent the patient from having more serious and invasive surgeries such as coronary bypass surgeries.
.Which Method has the Higher Risk for Elderly Patients?
A study conducted by Harvard Health Publishing compared leg angioplasty risks for elderly patients to radial angioplasties (using a vessel in the wrist) rather than the conventional method in the thigh.
The study revealed the risks of angioplasty for elderly patients, such as needing a blood transfusion or bleeding at the site of the catheter insertion, was not as great when the radial angioplasty method was used.
Although the risk of stroke is rare, the radial angioplasty group had a slightly lower instance of stroke during and after the procedure.
What is Considered the Angioplasty Risk Age?
Angioplasty can be done at any age, but after the age of 80, there are concerns about the risks of the procedure. The aging patient often has other heart problems or health issues that must be considered.
Most physicians say that any invasive procedure should be analyzed on an individual basis when treating elderly patients.
As people age, the arteries become stiff or calcified, making it much harder to thread the catheter through the vessels in the wrist or the thigh. The risk of infection is greater in a person of advanced age, and kidneys may not function as efficiently as they should. These conditions and risk factors should be reviewed by you and your doctor if you are considering having a coronary angioplasty.
Lifestyle is another factor to consider. Angioplasty is usually a quick and relatively painless procedure, but it requires diligence in the development of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
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Here are some heart-healthy tips to have ongoing success after an angioplasty.
- Don’t smoke.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet.
- Get physical exercise.
- Manage your weight.
- Limit your alcohol consumption.
- Try to manage stress in your life.
- See your doctor for ongoing follow-ups.
You can live a vibrant life after angioplasty if you follow the advice of your doctor. Ask your healthcare professional to help you with the heart-healthy diet and other tips listed here so you can have the best quality of life possible following this or any other medical procedure.