This is a surgical procedure for the opening up of a narrowed or occluded coronary artery. It is a procedure for relieving angina and improvement of the patient's ability to exercise. It is successful in about 60% of the cases. Under local anesthesia and sedation, a small incision is made in the groin area so that a thin tubing with a balloon tip can be introduced. An x-ray machine is used to help the operator to guide the balloon tip into the blood vessels of the heart. When the balloon tip reaches its destination (the occluded vessel), the operator expands the balloon tip, which then dilates the occluded vessel. If the angioplasty is not desired by the patient, the physician can continue drug treatment if this is still to some extent effective. However, it may be that balloon angioplasty is recommended exactly because of the failure of drug treatment. Another alternative is open heart surgery for aorto-coronary bypass (A-C bypass), also known as coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). The risks and side effects of this surgery can include anesthesia risks, bleeding, coronary artery dissection or intimal tear, occlusion of the blood vessel because of blood clots, irregular heart beat, heart attack, stroke, pericardial tamponade, need for emergency surgery, and recurrence of angina despite initial relief. Local vascular complications at the site of puncture include arterial thrombosis, arterial laceration or dissection, pseudoaneurysm, hematoma, and a-v fistula. The consequences of not having the treatment include continued angina, plus the possibility of suffering a heart attack and its consequences.
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