Coronary Intervention and Peripheral Vascular Intervention
Using the procedure of angioplasty, narrowed arteries can be opened by the inflation of a balloon from inside the artery. In the majority of cases, coronary angioplasty will also involve the permanent insertion of a tube of fine metal mesh called a stent. Use of stents has made the angioplasty procedures safer, and, by reducing the chances that the artery will narrow again, has also made the procedures more effective. The role of angioplasty is to relieve the narrowing of arteries that may have occurred due to atherosclerosis ("hardening" of the arteries) to allow normal blood flow, and in doing so relieve angina and reduce the chances of a heart attack.
Angioplasty procedures do carry some risk of complications, and your cardiologist will discuss these with you in-depth if the treatment is being considered.
PFO / ASD Closure
The risk of another stroke or death for such patients is believed to be around 3.8 to 5.5% per year; performing a procedure via a catheter through a vein in the groin to close the PFO seems to reduce this risk by about half, to approximately 2% per year. Closure of a PFO through this method (which avoids open heart surgery) is therefore medically recommended in these circumstances.
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between the left and right chambers of the heart via the interatrial septum. This results in mixing of arterial and venous blood. The potential long term complications of this if left untreated can include dilatation of the right side of the heart, abnormal heart rhythms, breathlessness, and an increased risk of stroke.
ASD used to require open heart surgery to repair. In more recent times though, ASDs have been closed via a catheter inserted into a vein in the groin. This percutaneous method of ASD closure has a low complication rate, requires only a short hospital stay (typically with next day discharge),and provides very good long term results.