A catheter (thin, hollow tube) is placed in through a small cut in your groin or wrist. The catheter is directed through the aorta (the main artery of the body) into the blocked artery in the heart. At the tip of the catheter is a small balloon. This is inflated, clearing the blockage in the artery. Around the balloon is a small metal tube, which can expand, called a stent. After 10 to 20 seconds, the balloon is deflated and taken out. The stent stays in place and hold the artery open. This means that blood can flow down through the artery again.
- In few cases, opening of blocked coronary artery during acute myocardial infarction is practised, in place of thrombolysis. An angioplasty which is performed as a planned treatment is termed as Coronary Angioplasty; however, in case of emergency, when an angioplasty is performed post heart attack, it is a primary angioplasty.