Angioplasty (or Balloon angioplasty) is an endovascular procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins, typically to treat arterial atherosclerosis. An empty, collapsed balloon, known as a balloon catheter, is passed over a wire into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size. The balloon forces expansion of the stenosis (narrowing) within the vessel and the surrounding muscular wall, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. A stent may or may not be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vessel remains open.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), commonly known as coronary angioplasty is a therapeutic procedure to treat the stenotic (narrowed) coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease. These stenotic segments are due to the buildup of cholesterol-laden plaques that form due to atherosclerosis. PCI is usually performed by an interventional cardiologist.
Peripheral angioplasty refers to the use of a balloon to open a blood vessel outside the coronary arteries. It is commonly done to treat atherosclerotic narrowings of the abdomen, leg and renal arteries caused by peripheral artery disease. Often, peripheral angioplasty is used in conjunction with peripheral stenting and a atherectomy.