Lower Limb Angioplasty

Angioplasty (and stenting) is performed under local anaesthetic with light sedation. The most common reason for doing angioplasty is Intermittent Claudication. Claudication is a term used to described muscle pain in the leg that happens with exercises.

Angioplasty can be performed either as a day case or would involve an overnight stay in hospital. Angioplasty involves stretching open a narrowing or blockage in the artery using a small catheter with a balloon attached to it. After local anaesthetic is given, a needle is inserted into the artery in the groin under ultrasound guidance. Through the needle, wires and catheters are passed into the artery under x-ray guidance and images of the artery are obtained by administrating contrast as the x-rays are taken. This then allows the narrowing or blockage in the artery to be clearly and accurately visualised. When a decision is made to treat an area of narrowing in the artery, a balloon is placed over the write into the problematic area of the artery and inflated to push the plaque to the side of the artery. The balloon is then deflated and removed so that no foreign material is left inside the body. Sometimes, angioplasty is either not very successful or partially successful and a stent may be required. A stent is made of metal and is inserted in a constrained form into the narrow artery and then allowed to expand. This acts as a scaffold by forcing and keeping the artery open and prevents the artery from recoiling back after angioplasty. Mr. Bhamidi generally only uses stents when angioplasty hasn’t been completely successful or if a particular part of the artery is requiring multiple angioplasties.

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