Coronary angioplasty, also called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is a procedure used to open ‘blocked’ heart arteries. Angioplasty involves temporarily inserting and inflating a small balloon, where your artery is blocked, to help widen the artery.
Angioplasty is often combined with the permanent placement of a small wire mesh tube called a stent, which helps keep the artery open and decrease its chance of narrowing again. Some stents are coated with medication to help keep your artery open (drug-eluting stents), while others are not (bare-metal stents).
Angioplasty can improve symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. Angioplasty can also be used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to your heart.