Coronary angioplasty or PTCA i.e. Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty is a therapeutic procedure used to treat the blockage in the coronaries. Through the same procedure as angiography, a long plastic tube known as guide catheter is taken to the coronaries. Through this a wire is taken down to the coronary artery with blockage and put across the blockage. Then a balloon is inflated across the blockage to make appropriate place for stent. Following this a stent is deployed across the blockage which scaffolds the artery and prevent further recurrence of blockage in future. Previously the angioplasties were performed without placement of a stent, but this was associated with high rates of reblockages. This procedure is now called as POBA i.e. Plain Old Balloon Angioplasty. With the advent of stent, this procedure has almost become obsolete now and most of the angioplasties now are being performed with stents and called PTCA +stent.
Stent is a metallic mesh tube which has enough strength to open up the coronary arteries. Most of the modern stents are made of alloys mostly cobalt chromium or platinum chromium and available in different diameters and lengths to suit the size of coronary in a given individual. Previously there were only non medicated stents available. Now for last 15 years we have medicated stents available. These medicated stents release some medicines locally into coronaries after deployment for a limited time period. These medicines do help to prevent reblockages into coronaries. With the advent of medicated stents, the reblockage rate in the stents have come down to around 4 percent from 20 percent in non medicated stents.