This is an invasive procedure that is performed by a cardiologist in the cardiac catheterization lab. It is a treatment for coronary artery disease that involves the use of a balloon catheter. A long thin tube with a deflated balloon on one end of it is inserted into an artery located in the groin or arm. The catheter is fed up the aortic artery until it reaches the coronary arteries. The cardiologist finds the coronary arteries with the assistance of an X-ray machine. Once the catheter is in place, the physician inflates the balloon with an appropriate amount of pressure. This compresses the plaque to the side of the vessel wall, allowing for a wider passage way for blood to travel through.
The balloon is sometimes inflated a few times. Once the desired results are achieved, the physician deflates the balloon an removes the catheter. The puncture site will require a stitch, collegen plug or manual compression in order to stop bleeding at the site. This can sometimes cause discomfort. Pain medication is available.